By Liza Agoot

BURNED. Government law enforcers burn fully grown marijuana plants in Tinglayan in Kalinga on Sept. 19, 2023. Col. Carolina Lacuata, regional information officer of the Police Regional Office Cordillera, said pn Thursday ( Sept. 21, 2023) that the eradication is part of the continuing effort of the government law enforcers against illegal drug operations. (PNA photo courtesy of PROCor)

BAGUIO CITY – Government troops destroyed an estimated 32,585 fully grown marijuana plants worth PHP6.5 million in the provinces of Kalinga and Benguet, the Police Regional Office-Cordillera (PROCor) said on Thursday.

Col. Carolina Lacuata, Public Information Office chief of the PROCor, said the two days of simultaneous operations were conducted in Barangay Ngibat, Tinglayan, Kalinga; Bas-angan and Kayapa, Bakun; and Tacadang, Kibungan; all in Benguet province.

“This is part of the continuing activity of the law enforcers to rid the region of illegal drugs like marijuana. We have instructions not to relax in the anti-illegal drugs effort,” she said.

Lacuata said the operations were simultaneously held on Sept. 19 and 20 with operatives from the different units of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Cordillera.

No cultivator was arrested in the operations.

“Our operatives walk several hours because cultivation is intentionally done in hard-to-reach areas of the mountains and cultivators are adept with the place, allowing them to monitor incoming government troops and scamper before we even reach the place,” she said.

“There are signals used by planters and their cohorts to inform those at the plantation areas if there are government troops who are arriving,” Lacuata said.

Tinglayan in Kalinga; and Bakun and Kibungan in Benguet have been on the list of areas where marijuana eradication operations are conducted, some of the plantation sites are no longer being planted with seedlings but are seeds that fall off during destruction operations.

“Because of the good soil quality, there are areas where there are no cultivators but are simply growing being areas where previous eradications are conducted. Our operatives also constantly visit these areas to ensure that they uproot whatever remains of the plants that grew after a destruction operation,” she said. (PNA)