Arrests, killings not enough to solve Cebu drug problem – regional police

There has to be intervention too, says Central Visayas police chief Debold Sinas, like rehabilitation and the provision of livelihood to reintegrated citizens

Micole Gerard Tizon

Published: 12:32 AM September 13, 2018

Updated: 12:32 AM September 13, 2018

CEBU'S DRUG PROBLEM. Image of Debold Sinas from Surrenderees photo from Cebu City PNP PRO 7 Twitter account. File image of Jaime Mata's body from Facebook account of Lymar Tan.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Director Debold Sinas, chief of the Police Regional Office 7 (PRO 7), admitted that the campaign against drugs remained a challenge in Cebu, the most populous province in Central Visayas. 

Despite the arrests made, he said, the supply of drugs remains. 

"The problem is, I think, dili ma-solve overnight, one month. Not even one year. Unless, otherwise, naa gyud ta'y direct intervention, not only arresting, not only killing. But p'wede bang rehab, p'wede bang livelihood. So total approach gyud," he said in a press conference in Cebu City on Wednesday, September 12. 

(The problem is, I think, cannot be solved overnight, or in one month. Not even one year. Unless, otherwise, we have direct intervention – not only arresting, not only killing. We could try rehab, give them livelihood. So it's a total approach.)

The regional director also emphasized the need for various agencies to work together, withe his office strengthening its relations with the National Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Jail Management Penology, and the Bureau of Fire.

Campaign under Duterte 

When asked if the drugs in Cebu had lessened since the Duterte presidency, Sina said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) could provide numbers for the region, but he stressed that the Philippine National Police (PNP) had been focused on arresting high-value targets and doing "buy-busts and raids on the supply lines."  

High-value targets are government officials, police officers, soldiers, or foreigners, and persons who could dispose of huge quantities of drugs.

“Kung ginagmay lang nga sachet, street level classification,” PRO 7 Public Information Officer Police Superintendent Rayman Tolentin said in a text message Wednesday. (If [they supply] in small amounts in sachets, that's street level classification.)

According to PDEA 7, the combined drug-related arrests made by the agency, the PNP, and other law enforcement agencies are as follows:

July to December of 2016 - 1,540

January to December of 2017 - 5,666

January to August of 2018 - 5,051

In the province of Cebu, the estimated market value of 1 gram of methamphetamine (shabu) back in June 2016 was an average of P1,200 to P2,600. In June 2018, it was at an average of P5,000 to P6,000 per gram.

“We can use that as an indication na ni ubos na ang supply sa, there’s a much decrease of drug supply in the region,” said Lea Alcantara, PDEA 7 public information officer. (We can use that as an indication that there is a significant decrease of drug supply in the region.)

“However, sa ingon pa sa among regional director, si Sir Wardley Getalla, there is, dako pa gyud kaayo ang trabaho-unon, kay duha man gud ni atong approach in combating illegal drugs,” she added. (However, as our regional director, Sir Wardley Getalla, said, there is so much work to do. Because there are two parts in our approach in combating illegal drugs.) –