Kalinga folks seek farm-to-market roads, veggie farms to eradicate marijuana plantations

TINGALAYAN, Kalinga -- Residents of barangay Tulgao East here which is known as the source of marijuana are asking the government to construct roads and set up vegetable farms to rid their place of the drug menace.

Miguel Guyang, village chairman of Tulgao East, Tinglayan, Kalinga, said this in a meeting with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera, Kalinga Provincial Police Office, and Philippine Air Force that conducted an information dissemination drive following an aerial inspection of the marijuana plantations.

(Photo courtesy of Zaldy Comanda / MANILA BULLETIN)

Guyang relayed his village's call to the government to pay attention to their long-standing request to have a farm-to-market road which they believe will help eliminate the problem of marijuana cultivation in their area.

The town of Tinglayan is one of the largest marijuana plantations in the Cordillera region and has become the center of the sale of marijuana bricks by some who pretend to be tourists to smuggle them out of Kalinga.

The seven-day aerial inspection and marijuana eradication that began on Feb. 23 dubbed as “Oplan Herodotus Reloaded” resulted in the burning of more than P350 million worth of marijuana in the Tinglayan mountains.

According to Guyang, their area used to be infested with New People's Army (NPA) rebels. One of them, alias Daniel, who is now a farmer, is asking for a farm-to-market in the area so that the plantations will be eliminated in favor of vegetable farms.

According to PDEA-Cordillera Regional Director Gil Castro, politicians should have a good program in the fight against marijuana planting and cultivation.

“I was just an agent of the PDEA then and this marijuana plantation has already been a problem in the region, especially here in Tinglayan. Whenever we conduct an education campaign with the residents here, farm-to-market is the solution that they see so that they will not be tempted to grow marijuana in the area, ”Castro said.