BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan criticized the report of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) central office that was presented during the monthly meeting of the Luzon Regional Development Council (RDC) chairpersons which identified Baguio city as a marijuana producer, saying that the said report was unfounded, unfair and without concrete basis.
The local chief executive said he was surprised to learn from the report that Baguio City is a producer of marijuana that prompted him to question the source of the report considering that the city was never a producer of the illegal hemp because of its limited area coupled with its growing population.
“We were forced to question the basis of the PDEA central office report because Baguio City was never a producer of marijuana. It has been clear that Baguio has been a transhipment of the illegal hemp producer in a few towns of Benguet but it was never a producer, thus, we advised the PDEA personnel to correct the matter to avoid a negative perception that will be impressed upon the public by the unfounded report,” Domogan stressed.
He claimed in fairness to Benguet, marijuana is grown in the hinterlands of the province, particularly in the remote villages of Kibungan, Kapangan and Bakun and not the whole 13 towns that is why it will be again unfair if we generalize that marijuana is produced in Benguet.
Further, he added marijuana is also grown in the tri-boundaries of Benguet, La Union and Ilocos Sur and the tri-boundaries of Ifugao, Benguet and Mountain Province aside from the fact that the illegal hemp is also grown in the hinterlands of Tinglayan, Kalinga.
According to him, marijuana can never be produced in the city because of its limited area which makes it easy to detect marijuana plantations by the residents themselves because most of the alienable and disposable lands have already been occupied by the increasing number of people flocking to the city which is the education and trade and commerce center in the north.
Domogan underscored in fairness to the concerned provincial and municipal officials of the areas where marijuana is being cultivated, efforts have been done by the concerned agencies and local governments to curb the proliferation of marijuana in their areas of jurisdiction.
Aside from marijuana, he also explained Baguio has always been a transhipment of shabu from the lowlands to the different parts of the region through the years that is why the city has never been a producer of illegal drugs as depicted by the questionable report.
Domogan also questioned the facts of the PDEA report that was presented to them, thus, the need for the agency to closely coordinate with their co0unterparts from the Philippine National Police (PNP) to correct the facts and figures of their report before the sensitive matter will be presented to the public so as not to create a negative impression of the city.
He asserted the PDEA report, if not corrected by the agency concerned, will definitely elicit a negative response not only from the city officials but also the residents because they could attest to the fact that the city was never a producer of the illegal hemp but it has always been a transhipment area for both marijuana from the highlands to the lowlands and shabu from the lowlands to the different parts of the region. /By Dexter A. See