Marawi not yet a drug-free city: cops

MARAWI CITY: The police provincial office here said Marawi is not yet a drug-free city refuting others claims that the Islamic city is already drug-free.

Earlier, Norhanie Marohombsar, city director for interior and local government, said that “Marawi is a free-drug city after the 2017 Marawi siege.”
She said all the identified drug dens in the city such were located in the most affected area now a no man’s land and it is impossible for the illegal drug to exist there.
Marohombsar was referring to the notorious Lumber area in Padian (Palitan) site and other drug-dens in the city before the Marawi siege which devastated 24 barangay.
On May 23, 2017, the IS-Maute group attacked Marawi that lasted for 5 months before the government could liberate it. The siege though entailed tens of thousands of evacuees now living in temporary shelters, tents and home-based and destroyed homes and properties.
“If ever there is an illegal drug coming in, it is brought here by transients who are not residents in the city,” Marohombsar said.
Senior Supt. Madzgani M. Mukaram, provincial director of Lanao del Sur police provincial office (LDSPPO), said in a text message that Marawi is still not free of drugs and law enforcers are monitoring movements of persons of interest in the illegal trade.
President Rodrigo Duterte has made his priority the war on illegal drugs and corruptions. In November 2018, his campaign against illegal drugs launched on July 1, 2016, has tallied over 5,000 persons killed, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The PDEA’s count showed that lives of 5,050 people were claimed in the course of 115,435 government anti-drug operations, while 164,265 drug personalities have been arrested so far. Majority of the operations were carried out by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
In September of 2018, authorities arrested Lanao politicians and members of their families in a raid at their house in Bacayo, Iligan city which was considered a big haul.
“So far, they are the biggest narco-politicians [we have] arrested,” said PDEA-ARMM regional director Juvenal Azurin in a press conference following the suspects’ arrest.
Many Maranaos have been included in the Drug-List matrix of President Duterte. Some might have been arrested or have surrendered or just run away and disappeared. But still, there are local officials said to be still drug peddlers or users.
One barangay official in the city who preferred unnamed said that he knew of some barangay officials still in the illegal drug either as pushers or users. (MNY)

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