They went above and beyond in the name of duty.
On May 30, 2022, the PDEA-7 team based in Central Visayas destroyed millions worth of illegal drugs. They seized these during various anti-drug operations in Cebu.
Their regional director Levi Ortiz says they destroyed 4.4 g of ephedrine, 13.3 kg of shabu, and 75 kg of marijuana. The shabu was worth P90.7 million and the marijuana was worth P8.9 million. The epehedrine was worth P7,097.
All in all, the PDEA-7 destroyed P99.6 million in illegal substances.
Ephedrine is a prescription drug. It’s used to treat the symptoms of hypomania or low blood pressure during anaesthesia. It’s also one of the most commonly-abused over-the-counter medicines. People have used it as a performance enhancer, smart drug, and weight-loss aid. But despite these “benefits,” ephedrine abuse is linked to cases of sudden death.
Marijuana comes from the Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa plant. To be more specific, it’s from their dried leaves, flowers, seeds and stems. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that contains close to 500 chemicals. Those chemicals include THC, a mind-altering compound that causes harmful health effects.
Shabu is another name for methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as crystal meth. It’s used to elevate physical activity and wakefulness, as well as generate a sense of delight. Addiction to shabu is the most significant drug problem in the Philippines. Someone addicted to shabu will suffer harmful, long-lasting side effects. These include, but are not limited to, hallucinations, mood swings, and respiratory problems.
The efforts of PDEA-7
After destroying the drugs, PDEA-7 regional director Levi Ortiz held a press conference. He thanked various stakeholders for helping the government curb illegal drug trading. He also said the government is making progress in their fight against illegal drugs. According to Ortiz, anti-drug operations yield smaller volumes these days.
“Right now, ginagmay (smaller quantities) na lang,” he said.
Judge Pamela Baring-Uy of Cebu Regional Trial Court Branch 21 praised PDEA-7 ‘s efforts. She believes they deserve praise for what they did. The government doesn’t have a thermal chamber. The PDEA-7 had to go above and beyond to destroy what they confiscated.
“Buti na lang may nag-volunteer for the destruction,” Baring-Uy said.
Proper disposal of drugs
The PDEA-7 took the ephedrine, marijuna, and shabu they collected to Cebu City. They destroyed it all using the thermal machine of the Cosmpolitan Funeral Homes.
That was a far cry from what the PDEA-11 did in 2021. Back then, regional director Antonio Rivera led the burning of about P32.5 million worth of drugs. He did that in an open-air venue, at the at the Davao del Sur Provincial Capitol Grounds in Digos City, Davao del Sur.
Studies show that burning drugs in open spaces near populated areas does more harm than good. It puts the people who live and work near such spaces at risk.