PDEA 7 launches campaign vs. ecstasy party drugs

THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (Pdea) in Central Visayas launched Oplan EcstaNo on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, an anti-illegal drug operation coined from two words: “Ecstasy,” which refers to the popular party drug, and “No,” meaning to resist and prevent it by all means.

Intelligence reports of a likely rampant supply of the dangerous recreational drug in Cebu in the coming days prompted Pdea 7 to go full swing with its anti-ecstasy campaign as thousands of partygoers begin to converge for the weeklong Sinulog festivities.

Pdea 7 Director Wardley Getalla said while they have not yet been able to monitor the sale of party drugs in Cebu recently, sea ports and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) are now being sweeped by K9 units to block the possible entry of ecstasy and other similar drugs.

“We will be guarding not only our bars and party places, but also those selling and smuggling ecstasy here in Cebu through the ports and airport,” said Getalla.

Party organizers were also asked to coordinate with Pdea 7 and other law enforcement agencies to help secure their public events.

Getalla said they are closely working with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to monitor places which are often visited by young people who can afford party drugs.

K9 dogs will also be deployed to make the rounds of the different concerts and Sinulog parties.

Aside from the ecstasy tablets, Pdea 7 is on the lookout for two other types of ecstasy drugs, the liquid form and the latest crystal party drug, which Getalla described as deadly when consumed.

“In fact, there is now a crystal ecstasy that we saw when someone had a seizure in Manila. This crystal ecstasy is more potent and more absorbable by the body,” Getalla said.

“Its street name is mole, and it is stronger than the ecstasy (pill), so there are usually reports of deaths upon using it because its dosage is not measured at all. That is why it is stronger than the ecstasy tablets,” said Getalla.

Getalla called on the public to report drug dealers and users during street parties as Pdea 7 does not have many K9 dogs.

He also urged parents to advise their children not to accept drinks handed to them as there is a chance these may be spiked with illegal drugs.

Last year, student Ashley Abad, 19, died of an ecstasy overdose after ingesting the drug at a party on the eve of the Sinulog Grand Parade. She was with her boyfriend and six friends.

In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes told SunStar Cebu that he will allow Sinulog parties to be held in Mandaue for as long as partygoers do not occupy the establishments’ parking areas or spill over to public roads.

Cortes said he has released permits to at least three establishments to allow them to hold parties within their building on Sunday, Jan. 19.

Police Maj. Zosimo Jabas of the Mandaue City Police Office has prepared a deployment plan for the city’s policemen to guard party areas. (AYB, RSR, KFD)