BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The Philippine National Police (PNP) has discovered patches of vast marijuana plantations and initially uprooted at least P80-million worth of nearly half-a-million fully grown marijuana plants in Kalinga’s far-flung town of Tinglayan.
But authorities said that, they have yet to arrest suspects behind the operations of the illegal plantation in Kalinga, which is one of the country’s marijuana hotspots.
Police said that, it took them three days, which started on Tuesday to uproot the illegal plants as joint police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives continue to scour the hinterlands of Mount Bitulayungan where the marijuana plantations were uncovered.
It is said to be the biggest single discovery of marijuana plantations in the country, estimated value of which, including those which are still to be uprooted, would reach more than a billion pesos, reports said.
Sr. Supt. Froilan Perez, Kalinga police director, said that, the illegal plants were from a four-hectare plantation in the area which police operatives here and from the Cordillera regional police were able to uproot for three days.
Reports said the launching earlier this week of the so-called Aerial Marijuana Eradication Survey has resulted in the eradication of some 480,000 marijuana plants along the vast mountain area.
However, police said this aerial operation resulted in the loss of the police operatives’ Robinson R44 helicopter when it crashed into Mount Bitulayungan because strong winds and heavy load while it was conducting the aerial operation on Wednesday.
On board the chopper, with tail number RP 2425, Supt. Oliver Emmodias, chief of operations of the Cordillera police; and its pilot, Chief Insp. Dexter Vitug, and co-pilot, Police Officer 3 Jude Edwin Duque sustained minor injuries.
Perez said “we still have more illegal plants to dismantle because Mount Bitulayungan area was practically turned into a marijuana plantation.”
”Three days is not enough for the operatives to completely clear the area,” said Perez declining to give estimates as to the remaining marijuana plants still to be uprooted as well as their total value.
Leander C. Domingo