July 16, 2014 12:22 AM
By: Louine Hope Conserva
THE Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) approved the move to create an inter-agency drug interdiction unit in airports and seaports.
Gov. Arthur Defensor, RPOC chairman, urged the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to immediately create the draft resolution to be submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
The unit is patterned after an existing inter-agency drug interdiction task force in Manila International Airport Facility funded by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and chaired by PDEA.
The unit will be comprised of PDEA, PNP, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, CAAP, Office of Transportation Security of the Department of Transportation and Communication, airport authorities and other stakeholders.
PDEA-6 Regional Director Paul Ledesma said the support they get from the RPOC is a boost to their anti-illegal drugs operations.
“The new trend in domestic drug smuggling is via airport through courier services. The creation of the unit will be very effective in curbing domestic drug smuggling,” Ledesma said.
PDEA recently seized P7 million worth of illegal drugs in Bacolod City sent via a commercial courier.
The creation of the unit will also help PDEA in their operations.
“Next year, we want to increase our level of seizure frequency between P25 million and P28 million,” he said.
PDEA conducted an airport interdiction training a couple of months ago as a prelude to the creation of the unit.
Defensor said the resolution will be sent to all local government units and national government agencies that will comprise the unit.
PDEA will also enter into a memorandum of agreement with CAAP to kickoff the proposal. After which, they will present it to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration for possible funding.
The unit will be using foreign technology in tracking and apprehending drug smugglers.
It will deploy surveillance equipment at the airport complex which provides connectivity to the international drug law enforcement community for information sharing.
“It is like our gateway to the international drug trafficking information sharing network. If the international agency has a suspected drug courier from foreign countries going to the Philippines, they can provide us information through the system,” Ledesma said.