By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

UPROOTED. Philippine National Police – Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) members uproot marijuana plants in a plantation in Tinglayan, Kalinga in this undated photo. The PDEG on Wednesday (May 8, 2024) said nearly PHP862 million worth of marijuana was destroyed during an eradication operation in Kalinga from April 29 to May 7. (Photo courtesy of PDEG)

MANILA – Police officers destroyed nearly PHP862 million worth of marijuana plants in a nine-day crackdown in the province of Kalinga, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday.

In a statement, PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) chief Brig. Gen. Eleazar Matta, said operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Coast Guard, and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency joined the eradication operation from April 29 to May 7.

The operation led to the destruction of a marijuana plantation with a total land area of 195,100 square meters on Mount Chumanchil in Barangays Loccong and Buscalan in Tinglayan town.

A total of 3,349,500 fully grown marijuana plants and 1,575 kg. of dried marijuana leaves were also seized and destroyed.

“The destruction of these plants not only disrupted the supply chain but also served as a deterrent to potential cultivators, signaling the risks associated with such illicit endeavors,” Matta said.

“By disrupting the illicit drug network in Tinglayan, Kalinga, the operation not only dealt a significant blow to the drug trade but also sent a clear message that such activities will not be tolerated. The collaborative effort exemplified meticulous planning, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of justice to ensure the safety and well-being of the community.”

Meanwhile, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said illegal drugs with an estimated street value of PHP12.2 billion were seized during 17,099 anti-illegal drugs operations from Jan. 1 to May 5 this year.

A total of 20,920 individuals were arrested in these operations, she added. (PNA)