MANILA - Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Wilkins Villanueva on Thursday floated an idea of allowing law enforcers to use cash and properties seized from drug syndicates to help fund the country's anti-drug efforts.
"We will file a motion to the court so the money can be used by the DDB (Dangerous Drug Board) and PDEA for anti-drug operations and rehabilitation," he said in Filipino during a press briefing.
The country's anti-narcotics agency collaborated with the Anti-Money Laundering Council last year in going after those involved in the drug trade.
"It's a multimillion [industry]. We froze a lot of properties from syndicates. We are hitting hard on them," Villanueva said.
Based on estimates, the PDEA said a drug syndicate in the country could make at least P100 million.
On Feb. 1, the AMLC froze properties of convicted drug personalities Rico and Mary Ann Bacon.
Rico Bacon is considered one of the leaders of the Kuratong Baleleng drug group, according to PDEA North Mindanao.
Villaneuva stressed that the agency had expanded operations in pursuing big time drug traders by checking on money trail.
The anti-narcotics chief, however, noted that the country’s vast coastlines remain to pose a challenge in curbing drug trafficking.
On Thursday, more than P900-million worth of illegal drugs and chemicals were destroyed through chemical treatment at the Green Plant Management Inc facility in Barangay Punturin, Valenzuela City.
Among those destroyed were 200,000 liters of liquid chemicals and some 30 million grams of solid chemicals used to make illegal drugs, like methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said they were keen on monitoring drug activities as drug laboratories may easily be set up in the guise of a factory or industrial company.
“We do annual checks before they renew their business permits and PDEA also trained us to inspect for signs of clandestine labs," he said.
To date, Villanueva said over 13,000 of the 42,000 barangays have yet to be cleared from illegal drugs.
“By 2021, if not drug free, the Philippines will become drug resistant,” he said.
- Report from Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News