Senators warn PDEA against fentanyl's possible entry into PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20) — Senator Francis Tolentino on Wednesday warned the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to watch out for the possible entry and spread of fentanyl in the Philippines.

During a hearing on the PDEA’s proposed budget for 2024, Tolentino sounded the alarm on the opioid, which is considered the most dangerous illegal drug in the United States.

“I’ve gotten reports that it is now proliferating and the use and abuse is not just in Metro Manila but in other regions as well,” Tolentino said.

According to Tolentino, fentanyl supplies are coming in from Myanmar, Thailand, and from "first world allies."

Senator Ronald dela Rosa said the PDEA should be proactive in blocking the entry of fentanyl in the country.

“Dapat prepared tayo na dumating iyan dito kasi I’m 100% sure kung uso iyan sa America magiging uso talaga iyan dito,” dela Rosa said.

[Translation: We should be prepared when it arrives because I'm 100% sure if it's popular in America, then it will also be popular here.]

The PDEA said agents have yet to see the drug seized in local operations. But PDEA Director General Virgilio Lazo recognized the need to be on the lookout for fentanyl.

“The reason why we became aware of fentanyl entering our country is it's a number one problem in the US now causing a lot of deaths in the US,” Lazo said.

A senate finance sub-committee has approved PDEA’s proposed ₱3.3 billion budget for next year.

The agency, however, is seeking an additional ₱589 million to fund certain projects including the establishment of a PDEA academy and a narcotics detection dog breeding program.

The same sub-committee has also approved the proposed 2024 budget of the Dangerous Drugs Board amounting to ₱417.3 million.