MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Thursday gave police and anti-drug agencies one week to clear the Baseco Compound of illegal drugs and loose firearms.
Domagoso gave the directive to the Manila Police District (MPD) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) during a meeting with the city’s Anti-Drug Abuse Council.
“May masamang impresyon sa Baseco, bakit hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin cleared. I’ve been hearing a lot of individuals carrying firearms, I want to know if these firearms are licensed, legitimately acquired,” he said.
Data from PDEA showed that 807 out of 896 barangays in the Philippine capital are still affected by illegal drug operations.
While MPD records reveal that there are still about more than 2,000 drug pushers in the streets of Manila.
Mayor Isko vowed that the city’s anti-drug campaign would continue even after the Baseco area is successfully cleared of illegal drugs.
“After one week of conducting operation, it doesn’t mean on the 8th day, 9th day, we will stop. It will be a continuing operation until ang lugar na ‘yan ay mawalan ng ipinagbabawal na gamot,” he said.
“If we can do it in Baseco, we can do it anywhere in the City of Manila, to clear barangays of illegal drugs,” he said.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Dino, for his part, said that barangay officials who will fail to participate in the city’s campaign will face sanctions.
“Kapag bumalik ang mga na-clear ng city mayor, ng kapulisan, pasensyahan tayo… Ipasisibak ko kayo sa pwesto,” Dino said.
Two suspected drug peddlers were arrested by authorities in a buy-bust operation conducted in Cavite on Thursday night (July 4).
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) identified the suspects as Ato Labing Kasim, 30 and Jubaire Mohammad Kitab, 21.
PDEA said that Kasim and Kitab are allegedly linked to a Chinese drug lord, currently detained at the New Bilibid Prisons, who operates in parts of Metro Manila, Tacloban and Cavite. The alleged drug lord is also said to be operating in Mindanao with the help of a former mayor.
“Itong si Ato Kasim, may direct link kay Butokan Kendong na taga-Cotabato. Ito naman si Botokan Kendong, may direct link kay Montaser Sabal na amo din nito na former Mayor ng Talitay, Magindanao,” said Levi Ortiz, PDEA Special Enforcement Service Director III.
“Now these people, ang drugs kinukuha nila sa Chinese source na naka-detain ngayon sa Muntinlupa,” Ortiz added.
Recovered from the suspects were around one kilogram of shabu (crystal meth), which is estimated to worth nearly P7 million, and two vehicles allegedly used for drug transactions.
The suspects have denied the allegations.
“Hindi po namin kilala ‘yan, si Montaser Sabal,” Kasim said.
“Hindi ko po alam na mayroon pong droga sa ilalim ng upuan po ng sasakyan kasi ‘pag pinagpa-drive po ako, binibigyan ako P500 pamasahe pauwi,” Kitab said.
PDEA said the two suspects will face charges for violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)
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