MOA signed for formal creation of One Cebu Inter-Agency Interdiction Task Force

THIRTEEN government agencies and nongovernment organizations signed a memorandum of agreement on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, as part of the Provincial Government’s fight against illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism throughout Cebu.

They included the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Central Visayas (PDEA 7), National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the Philippines Visayas Command, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Central Visayas, Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), Philippine Coast Guard Visayas, Cebu Port Authority (CPA), Maritime Industry Authority Central Visayas, Bureau of Customs, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Bureau of Immigration Cebu and Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu City and Cebu Province chapters.

They are members of the One Cebu Inter-Agency Interdiction Task Force (OC-IAITF) that will assist in operations and regulations to minimize and stop the spread of illegal drugs and other contraband in the province.

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.

Garcia will lead or oversee the task force.

PDEA 7 Director Levi Ortiz will serve as task force commander while Police Regional Office Central Visayas Director Roderick Augustus Alba will serve as deputy task force commander. MCIAA general manager Julius Neri Jr. will head the airport task force while CPA general manager Glenn Castilla will head the seaport task force.

“If we cannot totally eradicate it (illegal drugs) at least we will make it really, really difficult for these drug suppliers to make Cebu their marketplace and we will make it very, very difficult for those who intend to start another lucrative business, selling drugs, here in Cebu. We will make life a hell for them,” Garcia said on Wednesday.

She said the Capitol will set up an office for the OC-IAITF that will serve as its command center.

She said they will also acquire “drug terminators” to properly dispose of all seized illegal drugs, as well as vehicles that will be used in operations.

Meanwhile, the training of personnel from various agencies who have been deputized to assist the police and the PDEA has been completed.

“Crime rate will drop. We will have a peaceful society in Cebu kay sa akong giingon (because as what I have said), if we cannot fight this then there’s no peace and order to talk about. If there’s no peace and order there’s no tourism to talk about, there’s no business to talk about. So there’s no progress to talk about. Mao na nga aron padayon ang paglambo sa Sugbo atong sigurohon nga walay makasulod nga anay kay mao ra unya nay mokutkot sa tanan (That’s why in order to continue the development of Cebu, we will make sure that no termites can enter because they will end up destroying all the) efforts and progress and development,” Garcia said.

The governor said the program will prioritize the “supply reduction” and “demand reduction” of illegal drugs, as well as the prosecution, dispensation and conviction of cases. This will be followed by the imposition of punishment on culprits.

“Di ko gusto nga makaingon sila nga ‘ay, ma-dismiss ra man na dayon.’ I also want nga masayod ang PNP, ang prosecution nga they are shackled by certain rules,” Garcia said.

(I don’t want the public to say, ‘the cases were just dismissed.’ I also want the PNP and the prosecution to know they are shackled by certain rules.) (ANV, PJB)