MANILA— The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has renewed its partnership with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in a bid to prevent illegal drug activities inside government prison facilities and penal farms.
PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino and BuCor Officer-In-Charge Valfrie G. Tabian on Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City to continue cooperation and the enhancement of organized and systematic implementation of Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, particularly inside correctional institutions.
“The MOA is an extension of the previous agreement between the two agencies on March 25, 2015, except for the inclusion of additional provisions prescribing PDEA to have its own office inside the BuCor’s jurisdiction to effectively address the trafficking and other illegal activities relative to dangerous drugs,” Aquino said.
Aquino added that BuCor personnel are also expected to lend assistance in the day-to-day operations of PDEA office inside the NBP.
Despite rigorous security measures in place, there is still a prevalence of illegal drug trade happening in the NBP.
“That is why, PDEA deemed it necessary to establish its own liaison and coordinating office based inside NBP premises to address rapidly the immediate concern of possible entry of drug contraband,” Aquino said.
The MOA ensures intelligence-sharing and joint investigation efforts in the conduct of anti-drug operations within the jail premises under the jurisdiction of the BuCor.
“Under the said agreement, PDEA is also authorized to conduct greyhound operations inside BuCor correctional facilities pursuant to the standard operating procedures,” the PDEA chief noted.
Aside from the NBP, the prison facilities under BuCor’s supervision are: Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City; Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro,; Leyte Regional Prison in Abuyog, Leyte; San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City; and Davao Prison and Penal Farm in Davao del Norte.
Prior to the agreement, PDEA and BuCor on September 8, 2015, also created a joint manual of operations in the synchronized conduct of search and seizure of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, and drug paraphernalia in all BuCor prisons and penal farms.
Also on Tuesday, the PDEA Liaison and Coordinating Office inside the NBP was also inaugurated and blessed.
According to Aquino, the office will have a canine unit so that they can conduct a 24-hour PDEA visibility as well as perform regular greyhound operation which he hopes will finally put to a stop to drug proliferation inside the NBP.