Hometown Naga City a ‘transshipment point’ for drugs, Robredo says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 16)— Vice President Leni Robredo admitted that the Bicol Region has been gripped by a “big” drug problem—and that her hometown of Naga City has become a “transshipment point” for the illegal products.

Malaki iyong problema dito. Noong Congressman pa ako, I was chairman of the Regional Advisory Board ng PNP (Philippine National Police). Isa talaga iyong drugs sa mga malalaking problema. Lalo iyong Naga, Legazpi, kasi ito iyong mga transshipment,” Robredo told reporters in Naga City on Friday, following a meeting with local drug officials in the area.

[Translation: There’s a big problem here. When I was still Congressman, I was chairman of the Regional Advisory Board for the Philippine National Police. Drugs have been one of the biggest problems. Especially in Naga, Legazpi, these areas have been the transshipment.]

Robredo said that at the barangay (village) level, Naga has steered clear of the illegal drug problem. However, authorities said transactions still take place in the area—tagged as one of the urban centers in the region.

Iyong mga problema nila kasi iyong bilihan nangyayari dito sa Naga. Iyong mga latest daw nila na huli na malalaki from Bilibid,” the anti-drug czar said.

[Translation: Their problem is that the buying and selling take place here in Naga. The latest products they intercepted came from Bilibid.]

“Iyon iyong sabi ng PNP—from Bilibid, from Cavite, from Batangas… So tinatanong ko, paano nakakarating dito?

[Translation: That’s what the PNP said—the drugs came from Bilibid, from Cavite, from Batangas. So I’ve been asking, how did they get in here?]

Robredo, since her appointment as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, has pushed for the strategy of limiting the drug supply instead of focusing on demand reduction. She added the problem won’t stop if there is a continuous entry of the illegal products in the local shores.

Days after her assuming the new post, Robredo met with various local and international agencies—including officials from the United States Embassy and the United Nations—to discuss issues and possible improvements in the drug war.

The Vice President said she will also meet with religious group leaders to tackle possible contributions from the civil society and private sector.