By Jennifer P. Rendon
Is Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao trying to get back its label as Iloilo City’s drug haven?
The arrest of 32 persons in a suspected drug den fueled speculations that the illegal drug business at Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Iloilo City is alive and kicking once more.
It’s not farfetched, Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 director Brigadier General Leo Francisco said.
“Based on the arrest that we have the other night, makikita talaga natin na ang Bakhaw ay isang lugar kung saan talamak ang druga,” Francisco said in a press conference Thursday afternoon.
At around 11 p.m. of Jan 25, members of the Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU) 6 and the Iloilo City Police Station 5 arrested 32 persons – three high-value individuals (HVIs) and 29 drug den visitors – and seized 135 grams of suspected shabu worth P918,000 at Bakhaw.
The drug den is considered an organized group, but Francisco said they have yet to determine the extent of its operation.
“May bayad ang pagpasok doon. Kung gagamit ka ng foil at paraphernalia, meron din,” he added.
Shortly after he assumed post, Francisco admitted that he had been receiving reports about the illegal drug situation in the area.
The region’s top cop was scheduled to meet with Mayor Jerry Treñas today.
“I would talk to the mayor and discuss with him what happened and what we have done in Bakhaw,” he said.
Police would also talk with barangay officials about their efforts to curb the illegal drug problem in the area.
Francisco said he would also call the attention of the Iloilo City Police Office-City Drug Enforcement Unit (ICPO-CDEU) on their anti-illegal drug efforts.
On Thursday afternoon, the 32 arrested persons were herded to Camp Martin Delgado for drug testing.
TASK FORCE BAKHAW
Francisco said that he would consider the creation of a special group dedicated to run after Bakhaw drug peddlers.
But for now, he said they are keen on doing focused operations in Bakhaw and other identified villages in Iloilo City.
In November 2010, PRO-6 and ICPO created Task Force Bakhaw in a bid to stop the rampant proliferation of illegal drugs in the area.
It was received well with police noting a 90 percent decline in illegal drugs after a month since its creation.
But alleged pushers Bakhaw eventually relocated to other villages in Iloilo City.
There were also reports that the then task force only crippled the operation of slain drug lord Richard Prevendido but allowed the group of another slain drug personality, Melvin Odicta, to proliferate.