Killings in Oro due to drugs

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Friday, July 11, 2014

“BY LOOKING at what is happening today in our region, drugs may have played a big role in the [recent] killings.”

This was the pronouncement of Rosemarie Bajao, spokesperson of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Office (PDEA)-Northern Mindanao, on Friday.

“Drugs is already the number one business in the whole world,” Bajao said, adding that it is a market on its own.


She cited that based on some of PDEA-Northern Mindanao's anti-drug operations, it was learned that the prices of the illegal substances have increased, causing crime rate to go up.

Bajao said this has been the trend, as people who want to have their narcotic fix will do anything, including committing criminal acts, just to “score” the illegal substance.

Rivalry among dealers and pushers also contributes to the rising crimes.

“In the drug market, there is a competition, thus the crime rate inflation. That is pretty obvious,” she said.

In Northern Mindanao, a gram of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or commonly known as shabu, is being sold at P8,000.

Most of the anti-drug busts for this year were usually conducted in Lanao del Norte, PDEA said.

Recently, a man in Iligan City was found to have possessed a 750-gram of shabu with an estimated street value of P5 million.

Nadia (not her real name), a drug user and pusher recently caught by the authorities, said the business in illegal drugs can be a flourishing enterprise in a month or two.

“All you need to do is sell shabu in kilos and you can immediately be a millionaire the next month,” she said.


Drug users nowadays are said to prefer the so-called Class-A shabu, the main ingredient of which is Ephedrine, a chemical mainly used as stimulant and appetite suppressant.

Bajao said that drug users who were arrested usually describe such type of drug to have “a smooth smoke compared to the cheap ones.”

Today, PDEA-Northern Mindanao is facing a new challenge in the face of the evolving shabu market where “fly high,” the latest fad among drug users, has recently entered the region.

Fly high means other chemical substances such as Ecstasy, Ephedrine and “Chinese Viagra” are mixed together and reported to be costly, Bajao said.

Retailing of drugs is also common among the illegal substance users. With P200, a user can already buy in drug dens a pinch of shabu which can be consumed only once.

PDEA classifies drug dens as the third class in the hierarchy of the drug trade.


Drug mules or carriers are no longer used in the local market today since detectors in entry points in countries are more sophisticated now.

Instead, drug traders ship chemists who will "cook" the meth, Bajao said.

Most of the arrested drug pushers are Chinese nationals, according to PDEA’s records.

“Now, instead of cooking the meth in warehouses and bodegas, they are now found in high-end subdivisions where we cannot arrest them easily. Kitchen-type na ila karon,” she added.

“In all aspects of crime, involved jud ang drugs. Dako na nga industry since poverty rate is also increasing year by year. Drug business is very practical. But it does not beat the fact that it is wrong in all levels,” she said.


Teddy Sabuga-a, executive director of City Peace, Development and Security Council (CPDSC), also said he noticed in police reports submitted to his office that killings in the city are mainly due to drugs.

Sabuga-a, also the head of the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD), shared that due to the increasing drug-related issues in the city, CSWD will hire more legitimate social workers who can handle After Care, the program for drug addicts.

“After a month or two, the drug dependents are going to be released from their arrest; they are to be referred to the program. The program includes proper counseling, a chance for them to go back to school again, among others,” he said.

He believes the drug dependents go back to their old routine since there is no hope given to them.

“[The] After Care program is a community-based one. We start off from barangays since there is really no proper, or if there is it is weak, implementation there. Drugs is one big problem in the city, let us remember that,” he said.

On July 16, CSWD will hire social workers who will staff the After Care program.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 12, 2014.

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