By Aaron Recuenco
Condominium developers have started to open their properties to the government’s anti-narcotics agents amid concerns that condo units are used as haven of big-time drug pushers due to tight security.
The first to take the initiative of establishing a partnership with government law enforcement agencies is SM Development Corporation (SMDC) through coordination and cooperation with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
In a statement, the SMDC said that one of the arrangements they made with law enforcement agencies is for them to coordinate with SMDC office for any drug-related law enforcement operations that would be conducted within its properties.
The move, according to the SMDC, is to give law enforcers the security clearance to go inside the target units and conduct the operations, an exception to the existing protocol.
“We believe that this coordination serves as the best middle ground between the mandate of the government to run after criminal elements and our responsibility to protect the owners of our properties,” SMDC said in a statement.
Such arrangement resulted in the smooth conduct of operations in the past month where other condominium unit owners were not disturbed, and in fact, were not even aware that a police operation was going on.
In return, SMDC has been conducting a series of training programs and seminars not only for their security guards but also for all the staff of their properties.
Resource speakers from the PNP, PDEA, and NBI were invited to teach security guards and employees the basics of detection if a crime is being committed in the vicinity.
These activities, according to SMDC, have been extended to owners of properties, citing the need for all occupants to watch each other’s back under their Community Protection program.
Last year, anti-narcotics agents arrested a number of big-time drug pushers and confiscated millions of pesos worth of illegal drugs in various raids in condominium units in Metro Manila.
Recent operations include the P204 million worth of shabu seized in a Pasig City condo unit and the more than P455 million worth of shabu in a subdivision in Las Pinas City.
Former National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said that big-time drug pushers have been choosing condo units and other tightly-guarded communities as their hideouts.
“They are taking advantage of the tight security protocol in these areas to protect their illegal activities,” said Eleazar.
In one of the raids, it was Eleazar who encouraged an official of the SMDC to start a partnership with the police and other law enforcement agencies.