By Aaron Recuenco
The good news is that the government’s anti-illegal drugs agencies are no longer monitoring the presence of shabu laboratories in the country.
The bad news, however, is that drug syndicates appear to be totally shifting to smuggling of shabu to sustain their illegal drugs business.
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said illegal drugs syndicates might have already realized how risky it is to set up shabu laboratories in the country due to aggressive campaign since President Duterte came into power.
“We indeed noticed that so far, we are no longer monitoring the presence of shabu laboratories since the relentless and massive drug war,” Albayalde said.
The last shabu laboratory in the country was the one discovered in Arayat town of Pampanga in September 2016.
The last check with intelligence agencies, according to Albayalde, is that even small-time makeshift shabu laboratories being set up in subdivisions and condominium units are no longer present.
But Albayalde admitted that their gains in reducing the supply of shabu from local shabu laboratories are being defeated by the smuggling of illegal drugs via either bogus shipment or those being dumped and picked up in seawaters.
“There are a lot of instances that those are the ways entering finished products. We are not discounting the fact that shabu shipments are being illegally entered into the country,” Albayalde said..
In shabu smuggling via bogus shipment, multibillion-peso worth of shabu is believed being smuggled in the country—the recent one was the P6.4 billion that passed through the Bureau of Customs and the P6.8 billion worth of shabu that is believed to have been sneaked through magnetic lifters.
On the other hand, he said they also busted several times in the past cases wherein suppliers of shabu and cocaine would dump the illegal drugs in high waters and later picked by local drugs syndicates.
Three months ago for instance, some 27 kilos of cocaine were seized by the police after fishermen reported them floating in the seawater.
This type of modus, according to Albayalde, is difficult to address due to lack of equipment and personnel to man the vast shorelines of the country.
This is the reason, he said, why they are intensifying the cooperation and intelligence-sharing with other agencies from the international community.