NOVEMBER 15, 2019 – Most of the illegal drugs shipped to the Philippines came from a syndicate operating in the borders of three Southeast Asian countries, the head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Friday.
PDEA chief Aaron Aquino countered Vice President Leni Robredo’s statement yesterday that the bulk of smuggled illegal drugs were from China after a meeting with the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD).
“Nagkaroon ng geographical shift some time 2018, kung kailan nag-emerge ‘yung Golden Triangle drug syndicate [which] borders Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar,” Aquino said in an interview with Radyo Singko’s Early All Ready.
The PDEA chief explained there might have been a misunderstanding because the drugs were usually packed in Chinese tea bags and most of the arrsted foreigners involved in drug smuggling were Chinese.
“May trademark kasi itong Golden Triangle, karamihan naka-pack sa tea bags kaya siguro ang nagiging ano, Chinese ang nakalagay sa packages nila, ang perception ng tao akala nila galing China pero actually galing sa Golden Triangle syndicate,” Aquino said.
He added that drug syndicates were forced to outsource production due to the strict law enforcement in China.
“Imbes na sila ang nagluluto, kumukuha na lang sila sa Golden Triangle region, sila na ang nag-drug trafficking.”
Aquino cited the P1.8 billion worth of shabu seized at the Manila International Container Port (MICT) in March which were wrapped in tea packaging.
He also mentioned the shabu concealed in the intercepted magnetic lifters, but it was not clear if he was referring to the P4.3 billion drug haul in MICT last year, or the P6.8 billion shipment in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite that slipped past authorities.
Robredo, who co-chairs the ICAD with Aquino, sought a probe into the extent of Chinese involvement into the drug trade in the Philippines.
“Gusto kong kumalap ng mas maraming datos, kasi iyong pinaka-report talaga sa atin ngayon, karamihan sa supply na pumapasok dito, galing China,” she said.
“Pati iyong mga nahuhuli na mga nag-o-operate within the Philippines, karamihan Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese nationals. So it is something that we should look into,” she furthered. (Karen Macalalad/AAD)