MANILA—The source of drugs in the Philippines is now the Golden Triangle drug syndicate operating on the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said Thursday.
"Noong 2017 pababa, karamihan ng drugs nanggagaling sa China then nagkaroon ng geographical shift. By 2018, nagkaroon ng Golden Triangle drug syndicate sa border ng Laos, Myanmar at Thailand. Sila na ang biggest distributor ng drugs sa Southeast Asia, umaabot sa Australia, US, Europe," PDEA director Aaron Aquino said.
He said the drugs are regularly packed in Chinese tea bags, a trademark used by the Golden Triangle to make it appear the package came from China.
Some 450 kilos of illegal drugs worth P3 billion were confiscated by the PDEA throughout the country this year.
Because of strict laws against illegal drugs in China, drug syndicates were forced to outsource production.
"Instead na sila ang mag-manufacture, nag-outsource na sila sa Golden Triangle region, at sila ngayon ang mag-smuggle sa ibang bansa, kunwari sa Pilipinas. Kaya kita mo, out of more than 1,000 arrested foreign nationals, 592 ay Chinese nationals,” Aquino said.
Vice-President Leni Robredo said most of the illegal drugs entering the country came from China.
"Report says, karamihan ng supply na pumapasok dito galing China. Pati 'yung nahuhuli na nag-o-operate, karamihan Chinese. This is something we should look into. Kailangan ayusin, i-organize how we are reacting sa info and how we can improve," she said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge, Police Maj. Gen. Archie Gamboa, said authorities are aware of the trans-shipments.
"That's why there should be strict enforcement sa borders. What are these? Seaborne boundaries, airport boundaries ito 'yong napag-agreehan namin na we should have more intel on which foreign counterparts is very essential," Gamboa said.