By Jennifer P. Rendon
The law of supply and demand suggests that if the demand exceeds supply, prices will rise.
This might also be true in the case of the illegal drug trade in Iloilo City.
Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Benitez, Jr., Iloilo City Police Office-City Drug Enforcement Unit (ICPO-CDEU) and concurrent ICPO City Intelligence Unit (CIU) chief, said the street price of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) has doubled due to tighter supply.
Benitez cited that they conducted a test buy last March 9 as part of their application for a search warrant.
“The sachet of shabu that we bought for P500 is now at P1,000,” he said.
Before, a gram of shabu is valued at P5,000 to P6,000. But it now skyrocketed to at least P10,000 per gram.
For uniformity, though, anti-drug units use the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB)’s P6,800 per gram as the standard drug price (SDP) of shabu.
Benitez said that the series of arrests conducted by ICPO and other police units in Iloilo City has hurt the shabu supply in the city.
“Others have opted to lie low because of the aggressive campaign launched against illegal drugs,” he added.
Some have temporarily relocated outside of Iloilo City while police are still hot on their trails.
Aside from large confiscations, one of the biggest factors was the difficulty of sneaking in the supply intended for Iloilo City.
But despite these difficulties, Benitez said there are still a good number of individuals who are very much willing to trade shabu.
Sadly, most of them were previously arrested and later released from jail after availing of the plea bargaining agreement.
“After getting out of jail, they have no means of livelihood. Ang tendency nila, mabalik gid. Also, while serving jail time, they have met connections and saw more opportunities to earn bigger amounts without sweating it out,” he said.
Thus, they easily get tempted to go back to their old ways, Benitez added.
Meanwhile, ICPO records indicated that 54 anti-illegal drug operations were conducted from January 27 (the day Colonel Joeresty Coronica assumed as ICPO chief) to March 15.
The CDEU conducted the most number of operations at 10 while Iloilo City Police Station (ICPS) 5 and ICPS 3 (Jaro) have conducted nine each.
ICPS 5 has jurisdiction over Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao, which was earlier tagged as one of the most problematic areas in Iloilo City when it comes to illegal drugs.
ICPS 1 (City Proper) conducted seven operations, ICPS 2 (La Paz) with 6, while ICPS 4 (Molo) and ICPS 6 (Arevalo) have five prorations each.
The Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU) 6, the PNP’s anti-drug unit in Western Visayas, conducted 3 operations in Iloilo City.
The 54 operations led to the arrest of 74 persons.
Meanwhile, a total of 670.9663 grams of shabu with a DDB value of P 4,562,570.84 were confiscated.
CDEU logged the biggest haul at 370 grams worth P2.516 million while RPDEU-6 seized 164 grams amounting to P1.116 million.