Capitol creates inter-agency task force to help carry out Gwen’s ‘all-out war’ against illegal drugs

IN LINE with the aim to prevent the spread of illegal drugs and other contraband in Cebu Province, the Provincial Government formed the One Cebu Inter-Agency Interdiction Task Force (OC-IATF) that will focus on implementing its rules and regulations.

On Monday, November 14, 2022, police and army officials, members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Central Visayas (PDEA 7), the Coast Guard, airport officials and mayors of the tri-cities and provincial cities, including officials of concerned agencies met to discuss steps in accordance with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s declaration of an “all-out war” against illegal drugs in Cebu last September 15.

Brigadier General Roderick Alba, Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO 7) director, first introduced the task force and its branches that will collaborate in the program.

"We discussed how to have a holistic approach that will involve all concerned agencies, including our local government units and all the stakeholders, to support the program of the governor on the campaign against illegal drugs... Its concept will be One Cebu Inter-Agency Interdiction Task Force focusing on the security of our borders, particularly the ports and seaports, because basically that’s how the contraband enters the province,” Alba said in a mix of English and Tagalog.

The leader of overseer of the task force is Governor Garcia, together with the directors of the PRO 7 and the PDEA 7.

Four groups will focus on the airport and the seaports, while people will be assigned to monitor and to serve as support service to analyze the legal side of cases that will be filed against those who are caught.

Currently, the rules that will be included in the memorandum of agreement that is scheduled to be signed before the end of November are subject to further scrutiny.

The governor said the program will prioritize the “supply reduction” and “demand reduction” of illegal drugs. This will be followed by the imposition of punishment on the culprits.

Garcia urged all mayors in the province to support the program.

."We wish to send that signal that this is not just a one-time thing. This will become a way of life for all of us Cebuanos, for all agencies. This will now become intrinsic into our culture, into our system, this uncompromising position against illegal drugs that we will never let up in this all-out war against illegal drugs," she said.

She warned those involved in illegal drugs that the OC-IATF will go after them until they are caught.

“You think the problem will go away once they are caught? No, it will continue. But we wish to send a signal that we will also continue to go after them. We also wish to send a signal that if you try to smuggle drugs into the province we wish to achieve a very, very high degree of apprehension. We will make it very hard for them to bring in drugs to Cebu,” Garcia said in a mix of Cebuano and English. (ANV)