MANILA — Most of the newly-hired 126 agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) are set to be deployed in seaports to prevent the entry of illegal drugs into the country.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said 110 will be deployed to monitor the country’s 13 key seaports and 1,200 private seaports nationwide, while 16 will be assigned to PDEA’s Financial Investigation Unit to enhance the agency’s capability to follow drug money trail and investigate possible money laundering activities.
The 126 new graduates belong to the Drug Enforcement Officers’ Basic Course (DEOBC) Class 2017-10,“Maragtala” of the PDEA Academy. They were conferred with badges during the graduation rites held at PDEA Academy, Camp Castaňeda, Silang, Cavite last Tuesday.
Aquino said the class is the first batch to graduate under his term, stressing that he is “proud to see them full of vision and zeal” to have joined PDEA as drug enforcers responsible in implementing the primary program of President Rodrigo Duterte on the war against illegal drugs.
Aquino said the 110 agents will be involved in close scrutiny of cargoes entering the country and will also sit beside X-ray technicians of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to help in the detection of smuggled illegal drugs.
The deployment of the agents is one of the provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to be entered into by PDEA and Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
The proposed MOA was discussed during the visit of Macario Almario III, MARINA Administrator, to PDEA Director General Aquino.
Aquino said the partnership between PDEA and MARINA is a big boost to curb the incidence of smuggling of illegal drugs into the country using the seaports.
He said they agreed to deputize PDEA agents to inspect all maritime vessels in the country’s 1,200 private seaports.
“This is a big boost to our intensified anti-drug campaign, particularly in our seaports where bulk of illegal drugs are smuggled. In addition, they will be our new eyes and ears against drugs syndicates who take advantage of the country’s porous shoreline which serves as entry and exit points of illegal drugs,” Aquino said.
PDEA, which is the lead agency in the national anti-drug campaign, continue to forge agreements with government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs) and the private sector, to strengthen the government’s efforts to rid communities of illegal drugs.