Shabu Cases in Ilocos Norte not Alarming – PDEA

LAOAG CITY (February 23) – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has reported that the prevailing situation on illegal drugs, particularly shabu, in Ilocos Norte is no cause for alarm because drug movement is under control.

Agent Merthon Fesway, team leader of PDEA’s Ilocos Norte Special Enforcement Team, said shabu supply in the province is manageable with a maximum level of about seven grams being traded in the market.

“Ilocos Norte’s drug situation is not alarming unlike in other provinces. The maximum amount of shabu confiscated was pegged at 7 grams. In other provinces, that’s the equivalent of one operation,” he said.

Fesway, who was the speaker in the Philippine Information Agency’s Kapihan Hour aired over Dwfb-Radyo ng Bayan-Laoag on Tuesday, said only six towns namely Badoc, San Nicolas, Dingras, Bacarra, Pasuquin including Laoag have remained under threat due to the presence of prohibited drugs particularly shabu.

Fesway also corrected media reports claiming that a kitchen-type drug laboratory was discovered in barangay Sta. Cruz in Badoc town.

“We got intelligence reports that a drug facility may have been built in Badoc but when we conducted surveillance operations, we found no facility in that area,” he said.

The report first surfaced in 2009 when Chinese nationals, who were in Ilocos Norte for rest and recreation, were suspected to be involved in shabu manufacture.

Similar reports were again aired by the media recently when PDEA regional director Robert Opeña was quoted as saying that a suspected kitchen-type drug laboratory was supposed to have been discovered in Badoc town.

Fesway said it was likely that a temporary drug facility may have been put up but that syndicates would hop from one area to another to avoid authorities.

“Our validation yielded no results. The drug syndicates may have been mobile such that authorities could not readily detect their operations,” he added.

Fesway said a kitchen-type drug facility is able to produce of up to five kilos of shabu in a day. Based on prevailing market value of shabu, the facility would have been able to manufacture P60 million-worth of illegal drugs.

He said a gram of shabu is traded at P12,000 while a kilo of the prohibited drug fetches at P12 million. (Cristina Arzadon – PIA Ilocos Norte)