Coast Guard also on alert vs. drugs

TO PREVENT the entry of illegal drugs, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is tightening its watch on all vessels docked in the region’s ports.

Commodore Joselito dela Cruz, head of PCG Southern Mindanao, said they are currently negotiating with the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to monitor and inspect the vessels.

“We will inspect every vessel,” Cruz said.

To help them monitor on illegal drugs, he said, are two drug-sniffing dogs. The PCG will intensify the conduct of inspection especially on the vessels from outside the country.

The coast guard, he said, noted that there were about 70 foreign ships from countries like China, Vietnam and Japan.

Cruz clarified that this is to let “them know that we are serious in our campaign,” which is to curb the entry of illegal drugs. This is to also ensure that there are no floating shabu laboratories in the region.

On July 11, news reports cited that the authorities were able to intercept a foreign vessel in Subic, Zambales, where they found a plastic bag containing suspected shabu that weighed about 500 grams.

The PCG Southern Mindanao will also strictly monitor illegally exported minerals.

The coast guard in the region, Cruz said, has currently about 400 personnel. It has currently a 35-meter vessel docked behind Malacañang of the South in Panacan and it will further gain a boost as they would soon receive two brand new 44-meter multi-role response vessels from Japan. By Kristianne M. Fusilero

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