Editorial: Vigilance in the ports

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

IT’S an international syndicate, very little can be done to stop them. But if in every port of the city, authorities can give their commitment to find substantial amount of cocaine hidden among the millions of container vans that arrive here, then at least we can say, Davao City is doing its part in the international war against illegal drugs.

This is not the first time. A similar loot was discovered in 2010, where several cargo shipping line executives and employees were sued after the cocaine was found.

Saturday night, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte while on his way to an appointment had to call in late because he had to go to the Sumifru Pier to check on the suspected cocaine bricks found inside a refrigerated container van about to be loaded with bananas for export.


“Kung dili ko muadto basin mawala (If I will not go, the contraband might disappear),” was his cryptic message.

Trafficking illegal drugs through maritime routes, most of the time using container vans, is a global concern such that it merits a substantial discussion in the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes World Drug Report 2013.

The maritime route is turning out to be the major means by which illegal drugs are shipped all over the world, the report noted.

“While cases involving maritime trafficking are the least common among cases involving the three modes of transportation of road and rail, maritime and air, the frequency distribution of seizure cases by weight of seizure reveals that a maritime seizure is consistently the most likely to be a large seizure (from10 kg onwards),” the report reads.

“When individual drug seizure cases (of all drug types) reported to UNODC are broken down into the three different modes of transportation mentioned above, cases of maritime trafficking constitute only 11 per cent of cases in spite of the fact that they consistently account for a significant proportion of the quantity seized. Indeed, at approximately 330 kg, the average quantity seized in a single maritime seizure is by far the highest among the three modes of transportation. Seized drugs trafficked by air account for more than a third of cases, but for the smallest average quantity per case,” the report continued.

The European Police Office (Europol) even had the Conference on Cocaine Trafficking via Container Vans held just last December 2013. Europol is the European Union's law enforcement agency that handles criminal intelligence.

The problem is recognized, the problem is big.

Out there in the northern part of the city are millions of container vans stacked on top of the other. You can just imagine how difficult it is to crack down on such an international syndicate. But the little our law enforcers can do is already a big help. We just pray that our law enforcers see the nobility in their contributions to law and order and not be enticed by the multi-million pesos, even multi-billion pesos, promises of this most dangerous trade.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 24, 2014.


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