THE Philippine National Police leadership headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has called on school authorities and parents-teachers associations to help them identify and arrest drug dealers preying on young students and in some cases are using them to transport narcotics since they won’t easily catch the attention of authorities.
“On orders of PNP chief, Gen. Albayalde, we are going hammer and tongs against drug syndicates to help protect students returning to their classrooms this month,” said PNP Drug Enforcement Group director, Brigadier General Albert Ignatius D. Ferro.
The PNP is carrying out its intensified anti-narcotics campaign in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency headed by Director General Aaron N. Aquino.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, said they have set their eyes on a number of targets operating in school vicinities including known drug dealers living in slum areas and frequenting billiard halls, bars and other commercial establishments in Metro Manila.
“Our undercover officers and men are now stepping-up their operations against drug syndicates involved in the illicit manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs including those operating near school campuses and the university belts,” he said.
Gen. Albayalde has also ordered all other PNP Drug Enforcement Units spread across the 17 regions particularly in Metro Manila to further step-up their anti-narcotics drive by conducting regular buy-bust operations and raids on suspected drug dives, dens and resorts located in their jurisdiction.
The PNP chief also encouraged all school administrators to cooperate with the PNP and other agencies in the campaign against drug syndicates.
He said they are currently conducting a massive drug awareness and information campaign in different schools to inform the students about the negative effects of illegal drugs. The PNP leadership has warned about the presence of some drug rings using students as ‘mules’ or couriers after giving them a free taste of their stuff until they get addicted to it. These syndicates are mostly engaged in the distribution of shabu, marijuana and the designer drug called ‘ecstasy’ which are the three most abused drugs at present.
PNP officials said they have information that some drug trafficking syndicates are now using students as ‘couriers’ and oftentimes, as a ‘fast and reliable market.’
Police said high school students are most prone to the new modus operandi because they are on the so-called ‘curious adolescent stage’ where they are prone to drinking, smoking and even taking drugs.
Possible presence of students carrying drugs and deadly weapons inside schools have prompted Eleazar to call on public school teachers and PTA officials in Metro Manila to help them prevent possible illegal drug activities and gang wars by conducting surprise inspection of the bags and lockers of their students, the Journal Group learned.
Eleazar said he has proposed to the Department of Education the idea of asking PTAs and school authorities to conduct a random inspection of the belongings and lockers of their students.
“No policemen would be involved in this activity, only school teachers and members of Parents-Teachers Associations in Metro Manila. By conducting random inspection of the bags, other belongings and lockers of their students, they would be able to help us deter the presence of drugs and dangerous weapons inside schools,” the official said.
The NCRPO head said thru random inspections, school authorities and PTA members would be able to prevent or deter the presence of some minors who are already carrying drugs or even firearms and other deadly weapons in their schools.
He said that there have been cases where members of elementary and high school fraternities or street gangs were found to be armed with home-made guns and knives which they have been using to defend themselves from their rivals or in attacking their targets.
“We would like to seek an audience with higher school authorities specifically the leadership of the Department of Education regarding our proposal,” Eleazar said.