By Genalyn Kabiling
The country is “in danger” amid the involvement of the Medellin drug cartel of Colombia in local cocaine trafficking operations, President Duterte warned last Monday.
The President recognized the threat posed by the foreign drug syndicate following the recent discovery of several cocaine packages in the country’s waters.
“We are facing a serious problem. Pumasok na ang cartel Medellin, Colombia kaya nga marami na naman makikita cocaine [The Medellin cartel of Colombia has entered the country so we’re seeing a lot of cocaine],” Duterte said during the national assembly of barangay leaders in Pasay City Monday night.
“We are in danger because on the right side ang Mexico pati ang Medellin pati ang Colombia pumapasok cocaine,” he added
Duterte, who has vowed a harsher war on illegal drugs, previously raised concern that the Sinaloa cartel of Mexico and the bamboo triad of Asia have expanded illegal drug operations in the country. He claimed that illegal drugs were cooked in trawlers floating at sea and eventually thrown overboard to be recovered by drug dealers with the help of GPS.
Recently, authorities have recovered blocks of cocaines in the coastlines of some provinces, triggering speculations the country has become a transshipment point of such illegal drugs. The illegal packages were reportedly found in Surigao del Sur, Aurora, Davao Oriental, and Dinagat Islands.
The President, in his speech, admitted the government has difficulty guarding the country’s vast shoreline due to insufficient resources. But he assured the public that the government would take action to prevent groups from smuggling illegal drugs into the country.
“Dito, ngayon makikita mo kung lumulutang, shabu, cocaine. At mahirap ang Pilipinas because tayo ang pinaka-mahabang shoreline. Kasi island for island ‘yan ganun. Hindi naman straight ‘yan. Dito, dito, dito. Very porous [You now see there are floating shabu and cocaine. It is hard for the Philippines because we have the longest shoreline because of the many islands. It’s not straight. It’s very porous],” he said.
“Seven thousand islands ang Pilipinas. Hindi kagaya ng America na isang stretch lang. Dalawang submarino lang mag-ganunan. Dito island for island wala tayo. Kulang tayo.
So I cannot afford na may isang patrol dito, for island for island. Ganun kahirap. So I have to do something about it. I’m just warning [The Philippines has 7,000 islands, unlike America which is just one stretch. It takes only two submarines o guard. Here, we don’t have any for island for island. We don’t have enough. So I cannot afford to have one patrol here, for island for island. It’s that difficult so I have to do something. I’m just warning],” he said.
The President, in his remarks Monday, threatened anew to eliminate drug traffickers regardless of their nationality. He maintained that his latest three years in office would be a “dangerous” period for those involved in the narcotics trade.
“I promise you that at this time of our national life, it is the time during my time that it would be very, very dangerous for anybody to do drugs,’ he said.
“Whether as a drug lord, wala akong pakialam kung galing kang China, galing kang Taiwan, galing kang Malaysia. ‘Pag pumunta kayo dito at ginawa ninyo ‘yan, papatayin ko talaga kayo,” he said.
Duterte also advised Filipinos not to get involved in illegal drugs while abroad, saying he would not assist them if caught.
“Kayong mga Pilipino sa labas, ‘wag ninyong gawain ‘yan kasi papatayin din kayo doon. Do not commit the — committing crimes, your crimes in other countries. I cannot help you and I won’t help you,” he said.