Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

‘Double Barrel’ in Bicol continues, yields drug-using minor

By Julius B. Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, August 24 (PIA) – Since ‘Operation Double Barrel’ got implemented last June 2016, the police operations in Bicol continued to reap success in eliminating illegal drug use in the region. However, recent statistics on the operations’ turn-outs raised some concerns to the authorities as the number of surrendering drug offenders included teenagers and children.

Oplan Tokhang, an off-shoot police operation of Operation Double Barrel wherein suspected drug users and traders are convinced to voluntarily surrender, swept through the Bicol region and visited a total of 20,664 residences owned by suspected drug offenders. Because of this, Philippine National Police of Bicol (PNP-RO5) recorded a total of 41,474 surrenders, composed of 39,125 drug users and 2,349 drug ‘pushers’, as of August 21.

Aside from Oplan Tokhang, other police operations against illegal drugs intensified in the region. Also, as of August 21, the police has conducted a total of 270 operations, including 97 warranted searches, 130 ‘buy-bust’s, and 43 other anti-drugs operations.

These police operations resulted to 320 arrests, with 33 personalities who resisted were killed in encounters. The operations also yielded a big load of confiscated drugs, majority of which are methamphetamine (shabu), and other item being used for drug trade. These include 55 firearms, 23 vehicles, and money amounting to Php 303,017.25.

What the police and other authorities in Bicol find distressing is the number of drug offenders within minority age. According to the data collected by the PNP in the Bicol region, 703 of the total surrendering personalities are below 18 years old. 692 of these children are found to be illegal drug users, three are involved in drug delivery, while eight are involved in selling.

Classifying these children within their respective age group, 49 are 15 years of age and below, composed of 44 males and five females. Between the ages of 15 and 18 years, the police recorded a total of 654, wherein 60 are females and 594 are males.

“For our part in the PNP, this is very alarming. This indeed proves the extent of the drug menace, and the necessity of our operations in combating it,” said PSI Malu Calubaquib, spokesperson of PNP-RO5, during a radio interview with PIA-5 yesterday.

According to PNP-RO5, majority of these minors are first offenders (with only 17 repeat offenders). However, the police are already in close coordination with partner agencies, like the DOH and DSWD, to provide the necessary intervention and help them become fruitful members of society after their treatment.

“These drug-using minors are more like victims than violators, and it is commendable that they have taken the steps in changing their lives for the better by coming forward,” said PSI Calubaquib. (MAL/JBE-PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3301472022421/-double-barrel-in-bicol-continues-yields-drug-using-minors#sthash.FtfJwoK6.dpuf

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