QUEZON CITY -- House parties are becoming the new breeding grounds for illegal drug users and pushers, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said Thursday.
This, as social gatherings in bars, night clubs, hotels, and concerts have shifted to houses and condominiums, according to PDEA chief Wilkins Villanueva.
The agency also observed an increase in smuggling incidents for party drugs like ecstasy, and high grade marijuana known as “kush”.
“Mas madali natin sila abutin ngayon. Nahuhuli na natin sila during their own parties, we call it emerging dahil nahuhuli natin sila sa mga bars dati, right now, bahay bahay tayo,” the PDEA chief said.
Even as the country grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, drug supply and demand did not wane.
From January to August this year, PDEA seized more than 31,000 tablets of ecstasy valued at about P54 million and 12 kilograms of "kush" valued at P15 million.
The seized ecstasy and kush are imported from Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, and northern parts of Asia, Villanueva said.
According to PDEA data as of August 2020, more than 90% of recent seized items came from controlled delivery operations through parcels, which were busted through K-9 sweeping and inspection in warehouses and ports.
Demand is still one of the factors why the problem of illegal drugs persists, he added.
"Kahit harangan mo ng pandemic, gagamit ka pa rin, so continuous pa rin yung pag supply, continuous yung demand."
As the National Capital Region slowly eases quarantine measures, operatives said they will slowly ramp-up anti-illegal drug operations in barangays.
"Kapag inabutan sila kawawa sila. Ang nakaka-hinder sa atin ang pandemic na ito... actually suicide ka pag pumunta ka eh, but we have to do it kasi nagiging frequent nanaman ang gamitan,” Villanueva said. - report from Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News