4,936 guests

NAIA authorities doing own huge share in anti-drug war

  • Written by Alfred P. Dalizon
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 263

AS I have written a few weeks ago, one good thing about the Duterte presidency is the sudden stop in ‘laglag-bala’ activities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airports with the President even asking departing or returning migrant workers and tourists to ‘slap’ airport personnel who will try to extort money from them.

* * *   

CHANGE has indeed come at the NAIA terminals with many travelers, this corner included, experiencing real positive changes in the airports. At the NAIA Terminal 1, I have noticed that the air-conditioning system is fully functioning, the toilets are clean, fresh and well-maintained, airport employees are all smiling and most importantly, travelers are now confident they won’t fall victim to so-called ‘Laglag-Barya’ syndicates.

* * *   

Compare it to the chaotic scene at the different NAIA terminals last year when ‘Laglag-Bala’ was rampant forcing many foreign and domestic travelers to seal their luggage and bags with plastic. Some ‘enterprising’ airport officials even put up plastic-wrapping machines in the airport, earning them quick bucks last year. ‘Only  in the Philippines,” as they say.

* * *   

Back to my main topic, I would like to congratulate members of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group for scoring four major drug busts over the past few weeks. This week, Venezuelan drug courier Genesis Lorena Pineda Salazar,22, was arrested at the NAIA Terminal 3 for trying to smuggle at least 4.5 kilograms of cocaine worth more than P22 million.

* * *   

On Saturday last week, a female Brazilian national named Yasmin Fernandes Silva, 20, was also arrested for attempting to sneak in six kilos of cocaine worth P30 million at the NAIA Terminal 3. The said drugs were found in her check-in baggage after she retrieved it from the carousel following her arrival  shortly before 6 p.m. on October 15, on board Emirates Air flight EK 332 from Sao Paolo, Brazil, via Dubai.

* * *   

Last October 2, 22-year old Filipino student Jonjon Villamin was caught in the same terminal with 25 kilos of cocaine worth at least P4 million. Three days later, Hong Kong nationals Chan Kawai and Pau Homanevan and Russian Kirdyushkin Yury were also apprehended at the same airport while attempting to smuggle around 27 kilos of prohibited drugs with a total estimated street value of P140 million.

* * *   

Of the total amount of drugs confiscated, about 7.4 kilos of suspected cocaine in powder form and 2.5 kilos of liquid cocaine were seized from the Russian while the two Chinese had nine kilos of powder shabu hidden inside their luggage. Just like the Brazilian and Venezuelan beauties, the four are believed to have been ‘hired’ by an international drug trafficking gang to smuggle cocaine into The Philippines.

* * *   

I have the information that the arrests were all part of so-called ‘controlled delivery’ operations. The technique of controlled delivery is used when a consignment of illicit drugs is detected and allowed to go forward under the control and surveillance of law enforcement officers in order to secure evidence against the organizers of such illicit drug traffic.

* * *   

This technique has been proved effective in some countries in identifying and bringing to justice principals, organizers and financiers of the illicit drug traffic. The controlled delivery technique is compatible with the requirements of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, but its application depends on the particular legal and administrative provisions in the countries concerned.

* * *   

The technique has been used most effectively when illicit drugs are discovered in unaccompanied freight consignments or in the post. Controlled deliveries involving a courier present special difficulties and should be treated with caution. In a controlled delivery, security of information is of paramount importance as is the appropriate knowledge and co-operation of the law enforcement authorities.

* * *   

Such cooperation is essential between the country in which the initial detection of drugs has occurred, transit countries and the country of final destination. In the NAIA operations, the couriers were said to have traveled to Brazil via Dubai NAIA-IADITG have been waiting for them and their contrabands. Good job to the NAIA-IADITG composed of agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, NAIA authorities, Bureau of Immigration and Bureau of Customs.

* * *

HOPE THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN IN PH
   
This made me laugh and I hope this will not happen in our dear country. I read from a wire report that France’s health minister has visited the country’s first “shooting gallery” for hard drug as opposition politicians denounced the experiment at a hospital in northern Paris.
   
Supporters of the ‘shooting gallery’ described its opening as “a very important moment in the fight against the scourge of addiction” by allowing users to inject drugs in sanitary conditions.

* * *   

The newly-opened gallery located at the center at the Lariboisiere hospital near the Gare du Nord train station known for its high concentration of hard drug users is expected to receive 100 people a day, foreign news reports said. Users will bring their own drugs to the center, which will be staffed by a team of 20 including doctors, nurses, educators, social workers and security guards.

* * *   

I learned that similar facilities exist in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland although French opposition leaders criticized the project as a “false good idea” and many complained that the shooting gallery would not provide any help for users to kick the habit. Most importantly, they said that the center risks drawing more drug dealers to the neighborhood.

* * *   

Just imagine if similar ‘shooting galleries’ will be allowed to open in our country. With nearly 700,000 confessed drug users already surrendering as a result of the PNP Oplan: Tokhang of General Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa, I think that such a facility will be tolerating drug addiction and open the doors even to users who have been afflicted with HIV, hepatitis and other diseases.