MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Monday expressed alarm over the successive recovery packs of cocaine off the coast of the Bicol region, Northern Mindanao and other regions and questioned the determination of the Duterte administration to address the issue.
“Imbes na tuluyang mapigilan at matukoy ang mga nasa likod ng pagbabagsak ng ilegal na droga sa bansa, tila ba hindi ganoon kaseryoso ang pagtutok ng gobyerno sa isyu kaya tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang ganitong kalakaran,” De Lima, who is detained at Camp Crame on drug-related charges, said in a statement.
She pointed out that numerous small-time drug dealers and users have been killed under President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, while those behind massive drug shipments remain at large.
“Libo-libo na ang pinatay nilang mahihirap sa ngalan ng war on drugs ni Duterte, na diumano’y nahulihan ng kapiranggot na ilegal na droga, pero kapag maramihan at bilyon-bilyon na ang halaga, pinapalampas lang at walang pinapanagot ang gobyernong ito,” she added.
The senator cited the P218 million worth of cocaine, weighing 39 kilograms (kgs) and enclosed in 12 boxes, found by three fishermen off Gubat, Sorsogon last May 27.
READ: P218-M cocaine found in Sorsogon largest drug haul in Bicol
She also cited PNP data which revealed that in 2019 alone, over 100 kgs of cocaine have been recovered in the country’s eastern seaboard, particularly in the provinces of Aurora, Quezon, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur in Luzon, and Dinagat Islands, Davao Oriental, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur in Mindanao.
She said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is reportedly looking at Mexico and Colombia as possible sources of the blocks of illegal drugs found in Sorsogon.
“With the repeated incidence of cocaine haul in our waters, it appears that our government is clueless on what it should do about these problems,” she said.
The senator said the government should investigate the matter “seriously” and “discuss its action plans and act accordingly.”
“We cannot allow our beloved country – our home – to simply be relegated as the passageway of illegally-shipped items in Southeast Asia,” she said. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
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