BAGUIO CITY: The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) clarified that this city is not a producer but a transshipment point of marijuana.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino pointed this out after Mayor Mauricio Domogan urged the Agency to rectify its previous report indicating Baguio City as a source of illegal hemp.
“Mayor Domogan must have been misinformed. There is nothing to retract. During PDEA’s periodic presentation of the National Drug Situation to stakeholders, we regularly identify Baguio City as an intermediate destination for marijuana en route to reaching its ultimate end-users,” Aquino said, adding that there was obviously a miscommunication somewhere.
A report stating that Baguio City is a producer of marijuana prompted Domogan and the Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council to demand that PDEA to withdraw its allegation.
Marijuana, the second choice among drug users, is a perennial plant that thrives in high altitude and mountainous areas of the country.
Majority of the marijuana plantation sites eradicated were found in the tri-boundaries of Ilocos Sur, La Union and Benguet, particularly in Bakun, Kapangan and Kibungan. Cultivation sites were also discovered in Tinglayan, Kalinga; Tinog, Ifugao; and Sadanga, Mountain Province.
“Illegal hemp is usually grown in these areas but not in Baguio City. It is not possible considering it is highly-urbanized with a growing population and limited land area where detection of marijuana cultivation sites is easy,” Aquino said. He added that the city has never been a producer of marijuana.
From July 2016 to August 2017, PDEA and the Philippine National Police (PNP) conducted a total of 32 anti-drug operations resulting in the arrest of 56 suspects and the seizure of 8,887.1078 grams of marijuana worth P1.9-million.
“Based on the consolidated data, it is safe to say that Baguio City is a trading point of illegal hemp where drug syndicates conduct their illegal activities,” the PDEA chief said.
Meanwhile, Benguet Gov. Cresensio Pacalso, said he approves the use of marijuana as a medicinal plant but should be regulated and in form of a tablet or liquid. In this case, he added, marijuana should not be illegally planted but could be an alternative medicine and a livelihood for Benguet farmers.
Aside from, Benguet some parts of Kalinga province, especially Mount Chumanchil in Tinglayan town are also marijuana producers.