IT will be a tough road ahead for the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) and the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOPPO) as far as the illegal drug trade is concerned.
With 80 percent of drug personalities on their watch list still scot-free prior to their re-integration to Police Regional Office (PRO)-6, BCPO and NOPPO have a lot of catching up to do.
But so far, “they’re doing good. They are trying and, so far, performing well to address the problem,” said Superintendent Gilbert Gorero, PRO-6 spokesman.
BCPO and NOPPO used to be with the defunct PRO-18 until it was abolished along with the dissolution of the Negros Island Region (NIR).
Statistics indicate that BCPO and NOPPO are working double time to complete a long overdue work.
Based on PRO-6 records, the two areas are way ahead of Panay and Guimaras in terms of anti-drugs statistics.
From Dec. 5, 2017 to Feb. 5, 2018, a total of 297 persons arrested in Bacolod and Negros Occidental for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).
Almost half of those arrested were from Bacolod City at 126. Negros Occidental came in second at 93.
Iloilo City, on the other hand, was a far third with 37; Iloilo province with 15; Antique with 11; Capiz with 10; Aklan with 4; and Guimaras with one arrest.
While the numbers could indicate that the BCPO and NOPPO are doing well in arresting drug personalities, it could signal that the illegal drug problem in the two areas is worse than Panay and Guimaras islands combined.
While Panay and Guimaras islands have neutralized 92 percent of their target personalities, Gorero said Bacolod City and Negros Occidental only posted a 20 percent rate.
“Their actions are delayed but they’re making up for that now,” Gorero said.
It now appears that President Rodrigo Duterte’s tagging of Iloilo as “most shabulized” and “bedrock of illegal drugs” compelled authorities in Panay to either prove him wrong or show that the problem is being addressed.
Gorero said that in the case of Iloilo City, police authorities have focused on solving problems in “drug lairs” such as Barangay Bakhaw in Mandurriao and Tanza area in City Proper district.
In Bacolod City, the alleged drug hotspot is Barangay Banago.
“So, for PRO-6, our focus now on our campaign illegal drugs is really Bacolod City and Negros Occidental,” he added.
Aside from areas in Bacolod City, PRO-6 is also keeping an eye on illegal drugs traced to San Carlos City in Negros Occidental.
On Jan. 23, an estimated P6.825 million worth of suspected shabu was seized from a suspected drug dealer after a buy-bust operation at Sitio Juan-ong, Brgy. Palampas in San Carlos City.
Last Jan. 7, more or less P150,000 worth of illegal drugs were seized from 14 persons at Barangay 6, San Carlos City.
In August last year, the San Carlos police also arrested two local residents who yielded PHP2.46 million in shabu during a buy-bust operation.
The three operations were on top the P18-million worth of shabu seized in Dumangas, Iloilo, that was supposedly meant for shipment to San Carlos City.
Gorero admitted to the need to keep a tighter watch on ports in the region in the campaign against illegal drugs.