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P32M MJ plants destroyed in Balamban this month; community’s help cited

By: Alven Marie A. Timtim - Reporter/CDN Digital | February 16,2020 - 08:00 AM

PDEA operatives uproot fully grown marijuana stalks in Barangay Gaas in Balamban town, Cebu. | photo from PDEA RO-7 Facebook page

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Police will continue to win the hearts and minds and the trust of the residents of the mountain barangays in Balamban town in western Cebu with their community interactive projects.

Police Colonel Roderick Mariano, Cebu Provincial Police Office   (CPPO) director, gave this promise after these community projects, which they started in December, finally bore fruit this month with the destruction of two marijuana plantations and P32 million worth of marijuana plants in eight days.

Mariano said this showed that the people in these areas now trust the police as they were the ones who provided the information that led authorities to these plantations.

80K marijuana plants destroyed

He was referring to the February 4, 2020, discovery of a plantation with 70,000 marijuana plants, which police uprooted and burned, in Barangay Gaas in Balamban.

He estimated the destroyed marijuana plants to be worth P28 million.

This was followed by the February 12, 2020, discovery and destruction of another plantation in Sitio Cogon, Barangay Sunog, still in the same western Cebu town.

Police uprooted 10,000 marijuana plants and burned them.

Mariano said that the estimated worth of the destroyed marijuana plants was P4 million.

Residents’ help

Mariano reiterated that these two operations were considered a success because of the cooperation of the residents of these mountain barangays.

He said this also showed that they, the police, had gained the trust of these residents through their sincere community interactive activities.

Mariano was referring to the community related activities where province policemen would patrol and secure these areas daily.

These patrols by the Second Cebu Provincial Mobile Patrol would once in a while include bringing them food and holding a feeding program there. 

Aside from that, they also conduct medical missions — providing much needed medicine and other basic necessities and supplies to the residents in these hinterland barangays.

The project, which started in December 2019, finally bore fruit in February this year when hinterland villagers helped police by giving them information about the marijuana plantations in their midst.

“The community ay tumutulong na sa mga police na ireport yung mga marijuana plantation kahit na maliit pa. Na agad naman aaksyonan ng police,” said Mariano.

(The community are now helping report marijuana plantations even if these were still not fully grown, and police would immediately take action.)

He said that with these newfound trust that the residents have for the policemen, police have found it easier to conduct these operations because they had reliable information to work on. Unlike previous operations in these areas where police would survey these areas and would seldome receive reliable information from the residents.

CPPO, LGU’s action

The local government unit has also been helping the police in solving the proliferation of marijuana plantations in these areas.

In previous reports, Balamban Mayor Alex Binghay said that the fight against the proliferation of marijuana plantations in the town would go back to the 1980s.

Binghay said the lack of sources of livelihood and the remoteness of the location of these plantations made it an ideal area for the continuous existence of these marijuana plants.

Mariano said they were now working on sustainable livelihood programs in these areas in close coordination with the local government unit (LGU).

The initial plan is to provide free seedlings and materials needed to cultivate vegetables and fruits instead.

Mariano said they will continue to create more projects to help the community, until the time will come when residents no longer feel the need to plant marijuana./dbs

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TAGS: Balamban, Barangay Gaas, community, information, Mariano

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