PDEA Insists: ‘CAR Weed Plantations Cared For Big Bucks, Not Just Natural Growths’

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BAGUIO CITY(August 9, 2020) –  The government’s primary anti-drug agency – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency —  is seeking to end the debate about the abundant marijuana plantations in the highland region. 

Marijuana is done like high-value agriculture, PDEA-Cordillera director Gil Castro said at the heels of yet fresh discovery of a well-manicured and synchronized distancing of marijuana seedlings at a plantation along the disputed borders of Mt. Province and Kalinga last Thursday.

The discovered plant sites dispute the claim that the plants grow as wild without human intervention, Dir. Castro said after government forces overran a P2.55 million worth of fully-grown marijuana and seedlings along the borders of barangay Saclit in Sadanga, Mt. Province and Buscalan in Tinglayan, Kalinga.

The operatives overran four MJ plantation sites totaling to 6,150 square meters, said Cordillera police director Brig. Gen. RWin Pagkalinawan.

Dir. Castro said while eradication operations are intensifying,  an in-depth probe from all possible sources are being undertaken by both PDEA and PNP “to find out who should be held criminally or administratively liable for intentional cultivation.”

Sadanga, Mt. Province Mayor Gabino Ganggangan has also confirmed marijuana plantations along his town’s borders with Tinglayan while pointing out at unscrupulous tribesmen from Buscalan and Bugnay barangays of encroaching into their territories to expand for MJ agriculture because of the thriving illegal weed agriculture.

Earlier in 2018, then Kalinga governor Jocel Baac confirmed the proliferation of illegal marijuana plantations particularly in Tinglayan but cited socio-economic reasons behind such.

The illegal agricultural activity has long been there, Baac then admitted, since the time of Pres. Fidel Ramos as chief of the Philippine Constabulary and police.  “Time pa (nya) sinusunog na yan.”  The former governor cited, “the problem is, everytime they burn or uproot, kumakalat naman ang buto.  Pag umulan, according to residents, tutubo ulit.”   

The government should instead provide good roads and irrigation systems in those villages, para ma-convert and mga tao into farming,” Baac then proposed.

Baac however belied that all local villagers within the Mt. Chumanchil complex in Tinglayan, are into marijuana plantations.  “Basta na lang daw tumutubo,” he had said.

Artemio A. Dumlao