40 cocaine blocks seized along the coast of Siargao Island
Marje Pelayo • February 15, 2019 • 2875
BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – Authorities recovered 13 blocks of cocaine on Friday (February 15) along the coast of Barangay Pacipiko in the municipality of San Isidro in Siargao Island.
The cocaine blocks were in addition to the 27 blocks initially seized in the same location on Thursday (February 14).
Members of Siargao Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) saw the blocks wrapped in tarpaulin and fishnet materials.
Aside from the reports that they have been receiving from the communities, the San Isidro Police said they have been conducting shoreline patrols in the area.
“Actually, may mga prior reports na galing sa Dinagat (island) so nag-abang lang kami. Minobilize namin ang police kaya naka (kita) sila ng ganitong presence ng suspected cocaine sa shoreline,” said San Isidro Chief of Police PSInsp. Wise Vincent Panuelos.
The PNP Caraga said the cocaine haul is estimated at more than P200 million.
Authorities, however, has no lead yet to the source of the illegal drugs.
“Sa ngayon under investigation pa,” Panuelos said.
The incident prompted the Siargao del Norte Provincial Police Office to alert its forces along the shoreline of Siargao Island. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Raymond Octobre)
Establishment owners in General Luna, Siargao Island will undergo environmental laws seminar after around 700 establishments had been found to have violated environmental laws, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
400 of these establishments don’t have Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) while around 300 establishments violated the 20-meter easement zone.
DENR Caraga Regional Executive Director Felix Alicer has admitted that they have lapses in the implementation of these laws.
He also said that the said buildings were constructed without considering the requirements for a building permit.
“I must admit na mayroon tayong kakulangan sa pag-implement ng batas in coordinating with the building officials. Kasi sa tingin namin na-issue itong mga (I must admit we have lapses in implementing the laws in coordinating with the building officials.Because we think, these building permits were issued) building permit in the construction without taking into the consideration that there is the requirements in the PD [Presidential decree] 1586,” he said.
There is no official announcement yet as to when and where will the seminar be conducted.
QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Wednesday that the cocaine bricks recovered off the waters of Mindanao and Luzon in the past two weeks may have been part of a drug shipment bound for Australia.
Albayalde said they are now coordinating with their Australian counterparts to determine the signature of the cocaine slabs in order to confirm if these were among those being used by drug dependents in Australia.
“I talked with my Australian counterpart earlier. Parang nanggaling ito sa Pacific Ocean, pero hindi ito delivery sa Pilipinas (It looks like it came somewhere from the Pacific Ocean and these are not for delivery in the Philippines),” Albayalde told media after his meeting with Australian Federal Police officials.
Both the Philippine and Australian authorities believe that the contraband which floated to the eastern seaboard are connected to the cocaine bricks that were recovered in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea in September last year because of its similar markings.
“Sometime in 2018, ‘yung Australian Federal Police assisted a police [operation in] Solomon Islands, meron silang nakuha na the same nature, the same package na cocaine,” Albayalde said.
The PNP Chief said Australian authorities had reported about the operations they conducted in three drug trafficking incidents in the Pacific Ocean in 2018.
First was in June where two suspects were arrested in Melbourne for conspiring to import and ship 300 kilograms of cocaine from Peru through the Pacific.
The second incident occurred in September in Siassi Island in Papua New Guinea, which yielded the arrest of six Hong Kong nationals and one Montenegro national following a high speed chase. The group allegedly dumped some of the cocaine slabs they were carrying in their boat during the chase but authorities were unable to find it after the operation.
Authorities also seized in September around 500 kilograms of cocaine from a yacht from Solomon Islands bound for Australia.
“Ito ‘yung nakuhang ship noon. Maliit lang kaya there’s a possibility na ito ay mga nag-capsized. Itong nakuha kasi ay yate, saka ang mga ganitong klase, way back in September, may nakuha sa Solomon island na around 500kg of cocaine,” Albayalde said.
“Meron din silang narecover with the help of Australian Police na the same package,” he added.
Since February 10, more than 100 kilograms of cocaine have been recovered on the shorelines or waters off Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Dinagat Island, Quezon, Aurora, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.
The PNP is awaiting results of the laboratory examinations of the seized cocaine samples they sent to Australian authorities. – Robie de Guzman (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said a Colombian drug cartel is now operating in the country and is behind the floating cocaine blocks found in the country’s shorelines.
“We are facing a serious problem. Pumasok na ang cartel Medellin (ng) Colombia kaya nga marami na namang nakikitang cocaine,” the President said in a speech before barangay officials in Pasay City on Monday (February 25).
In two consecutive weeks, several blocks of cocaine valued at around P2-B pesos were found on the shores of Luzon, Eastern Visayas and Mindanao.
The President revealed that the said illegal drugs were being manufactured in old trawlers by international syndicates and attached with Global Positioning System (GPS) before being thrown into the sea where drug traffickers could recover.
He also noted that cocaine is the choice of wealthy drug users while shabu is actually the “commodity of the poor”.
“Madaling lutuin noon, madaling ibenta kasi mura, at marami ang market – ang tao,” the President said.
The President warned Filipinos working abroad to stay away from illegal drugs as there are countries who penalize drug cases with death.
Likewise, he reiterated his warning against those who do illegal drugs that his government will not be easy on them.
“Whether as a drug lord, wala akong pakialam kung galing kang China, galing kang Taiwan, galing kang Malaysia. ‘Pag pumunta kayo dito at ginawa ninyo ‘yan, papatayin ko talaga kayo. Kaya kayong mga Pilipino sa labas, ‘wag ninyong gawain ‘yan kasi papatayin din kayo doon. Do not commit the — committing crimes, your crimes in other countries. I cannot help you and I won’t help you,” he said.
“I will make this statement very, very clear. I promised you that at this time of our national life, it is the time during my time that it would be very, very dangerous for anybody to do drugs,” the President concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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