The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Region 12 has stepped up its monitoring at the city airport and several seaports here for the possible entry of illegal drug shipments.
Valente Cariño, PDEA-12 Regional Director, said Wednesday they have launched regular inspection of cargoes and related shipments at the city airport, Makar port and other private seaports for the possible presence of illegal drugs.
He said the move is in line with a directive from the PDEA central office for the strengthening of the the “airport and seaport interdictions” within its area of responsibility.
He said they stationed a team led by its K9 unit at the city airport in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap).
The official said the team is composed of four trained canine handlers and two Belgian Malinois “narcotic detection dogs.”
“The drug-sniffing dogs were trained to detect and identify shabu, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin, which are the illegal drugs commonly abused in the country,” Cariño said.
The city airport, which is classified by Caap as an alternate international airport, is Region 12’s biggest airport.
It serves eight to 10 domestic flights daily to and from Manila, Cebu and Iloilo of the Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacfic Air.
Cariño said the “narcotic detection dogs” conduct inspection by sniffing on the baggage of passengers and commercial cargoes passing the airport’s departure and arrival areas.
“This is to detect possible presence of illegal drugs and prevent their shipment in and out of the region,” he said.
Cariño said he also assigned another inspection team for the Makar port and seaports operated by private fishing companies.
He said the team, which was backed by their K9, initially conducted a surprise inspection last week in one the fishing vessels of a private fishing company in Barangay Tambler here.
The agency coordinated with the company for the conduct of random drug testing among its employees as part of their advocacy campaign for a drug-free workplace, he said.
The official said the fishing vessel, which was then about to depart from the port, turned out negative for the presence of illegal drugs.
“The establishment of airport and seaport team is important to prevent the entry and exit of illegal drugs in the region. Since drug traffickers use the vast shoreline, besides air, as their means to transport illegal drugs, it is but necessary to seal our ports and prevent it from becoming a drop-off and transit point,” Cariño added. (FKA/PNA)