Torched Seized Marijuana Signifies Huge Victory Against Illegal Drugs

TARRAGONA, DAVAO ORIENTAL – Authorities set ablaze bundles of seized marijuana plants during a ceremonial burning on Thursday, July 26, here.

The ceremonial burning of the banned pot plants was done after the successful Marijuana Eradication Operation in the villages of Tomoaong and Tubaon in Tarragona town wherein operatives confiscated a total of 22,500 fully-grown marijuana stalks with an estimated value of P3.7 million and 2 kilos of marijuana seeds with an estimated value of P240,000.

Governor Nelson Dayanghirang said this is a huge breakthrough and a tremendous victory in “our fight against illegal drugs”. The Governor said he is proud of the joint operatives of the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Army who work closely in discovering and taking down the sprawling marijuana plantation on the two sites. 

Governor Dayanghriang congratulated all those who were part of the remarkable achievement and commended the local government of Tarragona for the determination in pursuing it’s biggest challenge to date, in as far as the fight against illegal drugs is concerned.

Tarragona Chief of Police, Police Senior Inspector Mark Lester Jalon, said this is the largest load of marijuana they have had confiscated and destroyed in the recent years. He said the intensive operation which took five days had commenced right after the Provincial Peace and Order Executive Council Meeting.

He revealed that cases are being wrapped up now to persons of interest who have something to do with the marijuana plantation. 

Prior the ceremonial burning, a press conference was organized LGU Tarragona.

The discovered marijuana plantations which covered a total of two hectares were located in hidden and isolated locations, deep beneath dense forests, as described by the operatives. With no access to roads, they say it will take at least eight hours to reach the sites on foot.

Lt. Col. Miguel Ramon

Lt. Col. Miguel Ramon, Commanding Officer of the Philippine Army’s 28th Infantry Battalion, said that there is information that strongly links the cultivators of the marijuana plantations to the armed New People’s Army rebels who have set an encampment near the discovered plantations.

Lt. Col. Ramon added that the Philippine Army will continue its efforts in helping eradicate illegal drugs through collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and local government units. “The success of the operation is a very strong example of an interagency collaboration and action that is strongly supported by the community,” he said.

As authorities celebrate over the destruction of the dangerous plants, Tarragona Mayor Nestor Uy said “this feat is historic because we scored heavily in our fight against illegal drugs. I know that we all dream of a drug free Tarragona. We will do this in the name of public service, and in our commitment to the future of our people, of the next generation. And we will be relentless in this fight, we won’t rest on our laurel,” the Mayor said.

Mayor Nestor Uy

 “We are lucky to have partners such as the Philippine Army, PNP, and the PDEA who risks their lives to fight those that disrupt our safety and our peace. Rest assured that our LGU will always do our share and contribution for the good of the people,” he said, vowing to continue the “fight” in the effort to promote a drug-free society.

A WARNING

Governor Dayanghirang warns those who are still involved in the illegal trade that the authorities will relentlessly pursue them “no matter how far they are”, adding that the successful operation sends a strong message that the government is serious in its stand against illegal drugs.

In the battle against illegal drugs, Governor Dayanghiarang hurled a challenge to the barangay officials, particularly to the Punong Barangays. “As barangays officials, you have a big responsibility in this task. You have to see to it that your barangay is well taken cared of, and you must activate your anti-drug abuse councils. I know that there are some barangays that never took the said council very seriously. Most importantly, there should be no marijuana plantation left in your different areas. As barangay officials, you should also know everything that is happening in your area of jurisdiction. I should know as I was in your shoes before. Remember, you can be charged administratively for any negligence,” he added. 

ANTI-DRUG EFFORTS

With the province’s efforts against illegal drugs, the Province of Davao Oriental has the most number of drug-cleared municipalities in Davao Region, wherein eight out of all 12 drug-cleared municipalities are from Davao Oriental.

Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council Action Officer and Provincial Administrator Art Benjie Bulaong said the province has also the most number of graduates from the Community-based Rehabilitation and Aftercare Program (CBRAP) in the region. He also took pride in announcing that the province will soon launch the “Balay Silangan” — touted as the first reformation center for drug reformist in the region.

Here in the province which has a total of 183 barangays, 159 villages have already been declared as drug-cleared. “Eight out of eleven LGUs have also been declared drug-cleared and we are hopeful that the rest of the towns and the City of Mati will soon follow,” he said.

Other personalities who were also present during the ceremonial burning of marijuana are PDEA Regional Director Antonio Rivera, PDEA Assistant Director Atty. Behn Joseph Tesiorna and Provincial Police Office Deputy on Administration PSUPT Joel Ada. By Karen Lou Deloso (with Ms. Neela Duallo)/Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan

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