The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 told government officials to improve security measures in ports, seaports, wharfs and bus terminals to solve drug-related problems in Cebu.
This was raised during the Cebu Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting last Sept. 8, which was presided by Chairman Governor Hilario Davide III.
PDEA 7 Deputy Director Esperidion Javier identified drugs as the main problem of Cebu, not the crimes.
“Ang mga nababalitaang patayan, barilan, nakawan indicators lang yan. Anong kadahilanan? Naka-drugs (Reported killings, shootouts, robbery and others are just indicators of the real problem. Identified cause of crimes is illegal drugs.) So the real problem in Cebu is drugs; crimes are sub-problems only,” he explained.
According to Javier, the solution is to “contain and constrict all ports, seaports, wharfs, bus terminals and even town boundaries” so illegal drugs cannot enter the province.
With this, PPOC agreed to conduct seminar workshops for town and city mayors and their representatives on enhancing security measures on these areas.
Davide requested Diamante to gather all town and city mayors and representatives for the workshop.
“We are going to set the date for the workshop for mayors and representatives on how to enhance further our security measures here in Cebu especially in ports because of reported illegal drugs coming in from Manila,” he said.
Javier reported to PPOC that illegal drugs in Cebu are through national couriers from Muntinlupa City, Mindanao and even Malaysia.
Davide, who was alarmed with the report, said that Cebu has become a transshipment point for drugs because of its ports that make it convenient for suppliers to bring in illegal drugs in the province.
“Mao na nga importante kaayo nga duna ta security measures dinhi para ma-control nato (That’s why it’s very important to have security measures in ports so we can control the entry of drugs.) If we cannot totally eliminate it, then we can at least lessen drug entry in Cebu,” he said.
Davide also admitted that the Province still lack police personnel.
“Apparently, kulang pa gyud ta ug mga police. So we’ll make a representation at the Provincial Board and request for more police personnel in the Province,” he said.
PPOC will also request Philippine National Police headquarters for more police personnel to be assigned in the province.
In light of the series of town hall burglaries in Cebu within the last two weeks, Provincial Board Member Sun Shimura requested CPPO to increase police visibility in the province and conduct random checkpoints in every town.
Treasury’s offices of Compostela, Carmen, Sogod and Pinamungajan lost thousands of money due to burglary within the past two weeks.
He further asked League of Municipalities of the Philippines- Cebu Chapter President and Tuburan Mayor Aljun Diamante if putting up of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in town boundaries would be possible.
“It’s very useful especially when crimes happen in our towns. We can check through CCTV the suspects’ entrance and exit points as well as where they are heading to,” Shimura explained.
However, Diamante reasoned that although they want CCTVs installed in the towns, the town budget cannot accommodate it.
“Ganahan unta kaayo mi ana pero considering among budget, apiki pa kaayo, di pa kaya sa pagka karon (We want that but considering our budget, it cannot be done for now),” he said.
However, Davide said one of the things to be discussed in the workshop is how the Province can assist towns in procuring CCTVs.
“If necessary, the province will assist with the procurement of these CCTVs for the towns. According to Board Shimura, dili ra man daw kaayo mahal basta importante adunay (they’re not that expensive as long as there are) cameras in town boundaries,” he said.
Present in the PPOC meeting were PDEA 7 deputy director Esperidion Javier, Supt. Renato Malazarte of Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), Shimura, Diamante, and representatives of Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Commission, Cebu Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, Bureau of Fire Protection 7, National Police Commission 7, and Commission on Human Rights 7.