Joint task force vs 'floating cocaine' unnecessary, says defense chief


Posted at Feb 27 2019 01:11 PM

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said the series of discoveries of illegal drugs floating across different parts of Philippine waters is "concerning" but added that a joint task force may be unnecessary.

Some P200 million worth of cocaine was found on the shores of Siargao Island last Thursday while several blocks of the illegal drug were also netted in the shoreline of Dinagat Island, the sea off Camarines Norte, and Caraga town in Davao Oriental in the same week. 

"That is very concerning ano kasi ibig sabihin maraming gustong pumasok dito na iniiwanan lang diyan sa dagat," said Lorenzana in an ambush interview. 

Asked if the military will create its own task force to assist the police on its probe, Lorenzana said they will simply amplify maritime operations to secure the country's waters. 

"Hindi naman siguro. Basta paigtingin lang natin 'yung operations. Iyung mga Navy, Coast Guard plus 'yung maritime units ng Philippine National Police (PNP)," the Defense chief said. 

However, Lorenzana said the "floating cocaine" tactic did not come as a surprise to authorities.

"Matagal nang sinasabi ni [President Rodrigo] Duterte 'yan diba? Sa speeches niya. Ihuhulog daw with GPS tapos may may pupunta doon para kukunin," he said. 

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for its part believes the floating cocaine packages are just a diversionary tactic for the entry of bigger drug shipments.

PDEA chief Aaron Aquino said drug syndicates could be using Philippines as a "transshipment point" for cocaine, which is repacked here before it is sent to Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and other nearby countries.