New PDEA agents to watch all seaports for drugs

Members of the PDEA Academy's Class 2017-10 "Maragtala" in a marching parade. (From the Facebook of GA Cabatbat)

THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is tapping 110 new graduates of its academy to stop smuggling of illegal drugs in all seaports across the country.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the agents will do close scrutiny of cargoes entering the country and sit beside X-ray technicians of the Bureau of Customs to help in the detection of smuggled illegal drugs. The PDEA agents will also inspect all maritime vessels in the country’s 1,200 private seaports.

Aquino said the deployment will be formalized through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Maritime Industry Authority and the Philippine Ports Authority.

“This (MOA) is a big boost to our intensified anti-drug campaign, particularly in our seaports where bulk of illegal drugs are smuggled. In addition, they will be our new eyes and ears against drugs syndicates who take advantage of the country’s porous shoreline which serves as entry and exit points of illegal drugs,” Aquino said.

The agents are among 126 graduates of the Drug Enforcement Officers’ Basic Course (DEOBC) Class 2017-10, “Maragtala” of the PDEA Academy. They were conferred with badges during the graduation rites held at PDEA Academy in Camp Castaňeda, Silang, Cavite last Tuesday.

The other 16 DEOBC graduates will be assigned to PDEA’s Financial Investigation Unit to enhance the agency’s capability to follow drug money trail and investigate possible money laundering activities.

Aquino said the class is the first batch to graduate under his term and he is “proud to see them full of vision and zeal” as drug enforcers responsible in implementing the primary program of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

PDEA, which is the lead agency in the national anti-drug campaign, continue to forge agreements with government agencies, non-government organizations and the private sector, to strengthen the government’s efforts to rid communities of illegal drugs. rw: wjg