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US-DEA, Customs, Immigration, IADITG, PDEA deserve kudos

  • Written by Itchie Cabayan
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 257

NOW that the holiday season is nearing, it is but reassuring to know that the frontline agencies at the country’s premier international airports are really on their toes against the entry of illegal drugs into the country.  Christmas season is the time of the year when there is a surge of incoming shipments and passengers. Thus, the possibility of contraband coming in is also higher.

The two recent incidents of interception of passengers attempting to sneak into the country huge volumes of drugs are a proof that President Rodrigo Duterte has put the right people at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals.
   
It will be recalled that just days ago, 22-year-old Jon-Jon Villamin Jr., a Filipino suspected of being a drug mule, was nabbed at the NAIA Terminal 3 upon arrival from Dubai for carrying 4.8 kgs of cocaine with an estimated street value of P25 million.
   
Following this, there seemed to be a competition of sorts on who should get the credit, as various quarters operating at the NAIA issued press releases crediting themselves for the job.
   
Well, truth is, it was a concerted effort and in my humble opinion, all those claiming credit are laudable for doing great in their assigned tasks -- big or small -- which led to the bust of Villamin.
   
It was learned from BI Intelligence chief ret. Police Director Charles Calima that BI intelligence officers, led by Border Monitoring Security Unit deputy chief Bienvenido Castillo III and BMSU officer Galo Robediso VI did their part after they were tipped, three hours ahead of time, about the slated arrival of Villamin.
   
Calima said that after Castillo and Robediso saw Villamin enter the immigration area, they alerted the immigration supervisor on duty that the suspect had been positively identified. The immigration officer who processed Villamin then stood up to signal the members of the task group that the passenger he had just cleared was the suspect that they had been waiting for.
   
Deserving of even greater commendation, of course, is Edgar Macabeo, NAIA District Collector of the Bureau of Customs (BoC), whose effective supervision of his men highly trained them to be extra vigilant all the time.
   
NAIA-Customs officers Ronald Moreno and Marius Landicho were also among those who worked hard on the case and did the necessary inspection and subsequent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Villamin’s case.

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Corollarily, the arrest also at the NAIA 3 of two Hong Kong nationals and a Russian who were carrying a combined total of 27.9 kilos of shabu and cocaine -- in solid and solution form -- worth about P140 million is a testament that the US has not ceased to be a Philippine partner, no matter what President Duterte says.  
   
In fact, it can be said that the continued cooperation between US and Philippine drug authorities was the reason why the entry of such a huge amount of drugs in the country was effectively thwarted.
   
Even if the US-Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Manila was instrumental in the identification of the said three suspects as carrying contraband in their checked-in baggage aboard an incoming international flight on October 5, the US Embassy congratulated not the DEA but the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and member-agencies of the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (IADITG) on ‘another example of successful bilateral counternarcotics and law enforcement coordination’.
   
If at all, the US Embassy merely expressed gladness that the information provided by the US-DEA contributed largely to the successful interception of such a big volume of illegal drugs and the arrest of the three aliens who, by the way, were traveling separately although on the same flight.
   
Members of the IADITG identified the three and then, the men of Macabeo did the inspection that led to the  discovery  of cocaine in their luggage. The NAIA-IADITG, by the way, is a multi-agency task force led by PDEA that was established in a cooperative effort between the Philippine government and DEA and which receives training, equipment and infrastructure support from the US government.
   
Kudos to all of these government agencies for a job well done!!!

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Jokjok (from Mary Ann Franeza of Caloocan City) --  Wife (habang binubu-ngangaan ang asawa): Bwisit na buhay to! Wala kang kuwenta talaga! Mabuti pa siguro kung demonyo na lang pinakasalan ko!/ Husband: Wehhh...hindi kaya puwede/ Wife: Anong ’di puwede?/Husband: Pupuwede mo bang pakasalan ang sarili mo??                                                                                                                                                            

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