GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Prices of illegal drugs -- especially shabu -- have significantly increased in Region 12 since last year as supplies reportedly continued to dwindle due to the intensified crackdown by the national government.
Kathryn Abad, public information officer of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 12, said the agency's monitoring showed that shabu supplies in the area have become scarce due to the limited movements of local drug personalities.
Abad said Monday that from the previous PHP5,000 per gram, the prices of shabu in the region has already increased to PHP6,800 per gram.
"This is indicative of our situation, wherein it is now more difficult for drug personalities to peddle shabu," she said.
Abad said the slowdown in illegal drug activities shows that "we're somehow winning the war against illegal drugs."
In 2018, she said the agency recovered around PHP1.5 million worth of shabu or about 220 grams based on its current value in various operations within the region's four provinces and five cities.
Maguindanao and other parts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remained as the main sources of shabu in the area, she said.
In January and February, Abad said they conducted 60 anti-drug operations and netted over 50 grams of shabu mostly from high-value drug personalities, including members of drug networks.
Since 2016, she said PDEA-12 already arrested a number of key leaders of drug groups operating in this city, Koronadal City, Cotabato City, North Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat.
Abad said these personalities included businessmen, local officials or politicians, government employees, and members of local terror groups.
"That is still our main focus right now, we're not just settling for street-level drug pushers," she added. (PNA)