By Francis Wakefield
The Naval Forces Central (NFC) participated in the joint operations of eradicating illegal cultivation of marijuana in Cebu on Thursday, March 21, 2019.
The NFC through Naval Task Group 50.1 “Stingray” raided two marijuana plantation sites in Barangay Tungkay and Barangay General Climaco in Toledo City at around 6 o’clock in the morning, together with the joint operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Office 7 and Toledo City Police Station.
A total of around 10,000 fully-grown marijuana plants with an estimated amount of P3.4M were uprooted and burned during the said operation.
The operation was led by the PDEA-7 and was considered as a high-impact operation (HIO) due to the identified value. Ten of the fully-grown marijuana plants were collected as laboratory samples for testing and analysis during the investigation.
Reports received stated that the alleged cultivator was able to flee from the cultivation site but appropriate charges will be filed by PDEA-7 for violation of Article II Section 16 of Republic Act 9165 (Cultivation or Culture of Plants Classified as Dangerous Drugs). The identity of the cultivator is still being withheld due to ongoing investigation.
Aside from the stated land operations, the NFC’s Naval Task Group 50.1 “Stingray,” is a multi-functional task group which was activated and sent off by the Philippine Navy’s Flag Officer In Command, Vice Admiral Robert A Empedrad last December 3, 2018. The said naval task group continuously conducts intensified maritime operations in securing the entire Visayas region. Also as the summer season approaches, securing the different tourist destinations is one of the top priorities in preparation for the influx of tourists in the region.
Moreover, the Philippine Navy thru the Naval Forces Central highly supports law enforcement and security operations as they persevere in dealing with evolving challenges and threats in the region. This is also a part of Naval Forces Central’s contribution to its mandates of securing our maritime domain.
“The Central Command through the Naval Forces Central is always ready to respond to ensure the safety and security of the people in the Visayas and its nearby communities. We will not tolerate illegal activities that will endanger the lives of our fellow countrymen. Through the establishment of strong partnerships, we will continue to create a maritime environment suitable for our country’s economic growth, development, and sustainment,” the Naval Forces said.