By Chito Chavez
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is beefing up its forces with the addition of 149 more agents who just completed their six-month training.
The 149 new agents were conferred their PDEA badges on Wednesday at the 13th PDEA Academy Commencement Exercises for the Drug Enforcement Officers’ Basic Course (DEOBC) held in Tagaytay City.
PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said the new agents will be deployed to monitor the country’s high-risk airports, 13 key seaports, and 1,200 private seaports nationwide apart from reinforcing PDEA Regional Offices, Provincial Offices, and District Offices of the National Capital Region (NCR).
They will be involved in close scrutiny of cargoes entering the country and will also sit beside X-ray technicians of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to help in the detection of smuggled illegal drugs, Aquino added.
The new agents, composed of 94 males and 55 females, belong to the DEOBC 2018-13 “Makilas” Class. The class name Makilas stands for “Magigiting at Aktibong Kawani na may Iisang Layunin at Adhikaing Sugpuin ang Iligal na Droga.”
This class is the thirteenth batch of drug enforcement officers who successfully completed six months of training at the PDEA Academy under the leadership of Investigation Agent V Lirio T. Ilao.
The 13th batch of PDEA agent-trainees has undergone and passed the trainingwhich includes basic DEO knowledge (unit tactics, techniques and procedures), concurrent legal studies, anti-illegal drug intelligence and investigation, narcotics interdiction, and community-based anti-illegal advocacy.
A total of 163 qualified agent-trainees of the DEOBC Class 2018-13 began their six-month training at the PDEA Academy in Silang Cavite.
“Only 149 agent-trainees successfully hurdled the rigorous training to become full-fledged drug enforcement officers. I have high hopes that these additional front liners in the war against illegal drugs will exemplify the values they have learned inside the PDEA Academy,” Aquino said.
Among the highlights of the program was the presentation of the following awards: The Director General’s Award, Deputy Director General for Administration’s Award, and Deputy Director General for Operation’s Award, the overall highest, second highest and third highest grades, both in academic and non-academic components of the course, respectively; The Superintendent’s Award; The Leadership Award; The Top Shot Award in Pistol Markmanship; The Top Shot award in Rifle Markmanship; and The Physical Fitness Proficiency Award.
The PDEA Academy is currently training 116 Agent-Trainees belonging to DEOBC Class 2018-14 who took their oath last November 29, 2018, and are expected to graduate this May, 2019, while the recruitment process is underway for DEOBC Batch 2019-15.
Recognizing the need to augment its workforce to address the immense drug problem of the country, PDEA hired and trained 542 DEOs in 2018.
This is the largest recruitment of DEOs in the history of PDEA under the leadership of Aquino.