HALF a ton of shabu valued at P4.3 billion was intercepted recently at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) hidden in two magnetic scrap lifters. Soon afterwards four other magnetic scrap lifters were found in a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite, with traces of shabu, which may have been used to smuggle in a ton of the drug.
President Duterte said last Tuesday that the smuggling through the Cavite warehouse may have been speculation as no actual shabu was found. He advised the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to avoid speculating that a ton of shabu worth R6.8 million may have slipped through the port of Manila and the Bureau of Customs.
There is indeed need for government investigators to avoid speculation and stick to actual findings. But the earlier raid at MICP shows that shabu in substantial quantities continue to enter the country. A year ago, R6 billion worth of shabu was intercepted in two warehouses in Valenzuela City. That smuggling led to a Senate investigation and a revamp of the Bureau of Customs.
The country’s drug problem has truly turned out to be so immense. President Duterte had initially thought he could stop it in three months, later extended to six months, until he finally declared that the nationwide drive may take years to eradicate, so entrenched it has become.
The MICP shipment was stopped but other shipments may now already be in the market, divided into thousands of packets sold to drug addicts all over the country. Thousands of drug users and pushers have already been arrested, while thousands of others have been killed in the ongoing drive to eliminate the drug menace in the country.
The police raids on drug pushers selling small packets of shabu by the gram will continue but greater efforts must be brought to bear on the supply end of the problem – on the smugglers of shabu by the ton, on the foreign suppliers, and on officials of the Bureau of Customs and other government agencies who have been remiss in the performance of their duty or are actual conspiring with the drug smugglers.