Manila is capital region’s top drug hub: PDEA

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2019 04:40 PM

Children play by the shores of Baseco in Tondo, Manila, among the poorest areas in the capital, January 17, 2019. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has ordered authorities to clear the area of drugs, saying there is no place they could not clear once they address the narcotics problem in Baseco. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine capital is Metro Manila’s top drug-infested city, with 90 percent of barangays still affected by narcotics, an anti-drug official said Thursday.

Of Manila’s 896 barangays, only 89 have been rid of illegal drugs, while 807 others are still affected by the narcotics trade, said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency National Capital Region (PDEA-NCR) Director Joel Plaza.

There are about 56,000 users and 2,034 pushers in Manila, Plaza said.

“Konti ang na-clear in the past 3 years kasi may problema ang watchlist natin,” he said in a presentation at the Manila City Hall Thursday. 

(We only cleared a few in the past 3 years because we have a problem with our watchlist.)

“We harmonized it. Hindi kami makaka-proceed sa barangay clearing kapag magulo and watchlist,” he said.

(We couldn't proceed with barangay clearing if the watchlist is in disarray.)

The capital is also the lone Metro Manila city without a PDEA office, Plaza said, as he asked Manila Mayor Isko Moreno for a barracks for his agents.

“Matagal na po namin hinihingi na magka-office ang PDEA sa (We have long been asking for a PDEA office in) Manila so we can closely coordinate,” Plaza said.

“We also recommend na magkaroon tayo ng (that we have) trainings and seminars for drug operatives,” he said.

Moreno called the data a “sad state that cannot be denied.”

He said the city government that time may not have been active in addressing the problem.

“Even if the national government has the capacity, mahirap magprosper ang operation 'pag walang coordination with the local (it is hard for an operation to prosper if there is no coordination with the local government),” he said.

Moreno also approved PDEA's request for an office in Manila. He said the city would also adopt their anti-drug program. 

“Three years na may war on drugs pero ang dami pa ring droga sa Maynila (but there's still a lot of drugs in Manila). I want this number to drop,” he said.

“Nakakahiya naman wala tayong opisina ng PDEA dito e may kampaniya laban sa droga and we are just 1 kilometer away from the Office of the President,” he said.

(It's such a shame that we don't have a PDEA office here while we have a campaign against drugs and the Office of the President is just 1 kilometer away.)

Moreno ordered the Manila Police District and PDEA agents to begin their narcotics purge in the port area of Baseco, one of the most notorious parts of the city.

“Pag hindi niyo na-clear ang drugs sa Baseco (If you fail to clear Baseco of drugs), there is no business for you to come here for a meeting next week,” he said.

“Tingnan natin sino may dibdib satin. 'Pag iyon nalinis natin, wala na tayong hindi malilinis,” he said.

(Let's see who has the guts. If we are able to clean that place up, there's no place we couldn't clean. )