By Geraldine G. Dumallig, PIA CAR-Kalinga
TABUK CITY, Kalinga, June 24 (PIA )– Some P155 million-worth of marijuana plants and seeds based on Dangerous Drug Board value were destroyed in a four-day joint operation last week in Mt. Bitulayungan of Barangay Loccong in Tinglayan, Kalinga.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Director Ronald Allan Ricardo said that the eradication operation was conducted after an aerial reconnaissance revealed the presence of marijuana plantation in the area near the boundary of Kalinga and Mt. Province.
Uprooted were around 700,000 plants which were about four to six months old with height ranging from 12 to 14 feet tall. These according to Ricardo were ready to be harvested. The prohibited plants were found in plantations scattered in a four hectare-area of Mt. Bitulayungan. No owner was identified.
Ricardo disclosed that the operatives have also confiscated seeds and discovered several huts in the area believed to be a temporary shelter for the caretaker and used for packing the dried marijuana and in processing the hashish and oil which are both by-products of the plant.
Said operation was participated by at least 70 men from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force. It also caused a PNP chopper to fall on its side while making a landing in the area hurting its three passengers who sustained minor injuries.
According to Ricardo, the eradication operation will be a continuing activity with the reported sightings of other plantations in nearby areas.
The Cannabis plants, Ricardo explained, tend to thrive well in the area because of the favorable weather and soil condition that even if the seeds are just scattered, a farmer would not have a hard time caring for them.
He said that the farmers need to understand why said substance is banned. He said government money being utilized just for the operation would find more meaning in helping uplift the lives of the people by providing them a more decent way of earning for their living. They should be given an alternative livelihood to veer away from planting and selling marijuana, he added.#