Editorial: Risks in drive against illegal drugs

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Friday, August 22, 2014

THE death of a policeman in Tagbilaran City, Bohol and the wounding of three others showed that the intensified campaign against illegal drugs pushed by Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Chief Prudencio Bañas is not without risks. The cops were reportedly responding to a pot session alarm in Barangay Poblacion 1 when fired upon.

The place where the violent incident happened is said to be where a big-time illegal drug pusher is residing. The same big-time illegal drug pusher, the police said, was the one who fired shots at the cops. Ironically, the vIctims were members of the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Bohol Provincial Police Office.

It is up to the police hierarchy in the region to find out what the policemen did wrong when they responded to the alarm. There are lessons that could be learned from it that should guide the other police units in the region in the conduct of the campaign against illegal drugs.


When Bañas took over the top PRO 7 post from Chief Supt. Danilo Constantino in May, he immediately announced his priority, which is the anti-illegal drug drive. Since then, various police units in Central Visayas have had varied levels of success in their operations.

In sum, however, the figures are impressive. Senior Supt. Conrado Capa, who is the deputy regional director for operations, said that from July to Aug. 15, the campaign has already netted 313 suspects linked to the illegal drug trade. An estimated P25 million in illegal drugs and 65 firearms have been seized.

Questions on whether the campaign can be sustained have already been asked, though.

Then there’s the matter of getting the bigger personalities in the region’s illegal drug trade. The goal is to finally break the backbone of the illegal drug syndicates and getting to the bigger distributors and sources of the illegal drugs.

Still, the successes so far could not be downplayed, which brings us to the kind of response those involved in the illegal drug trade are and will be making. What happened in Tagbilaran City is obviously isolated. But it could prod the others still to be reached by the campaign, especially the bigger targets, to map out a violent response to it.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2014.


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