By WILLIAM JUN GARCIA
Friday, 03 September 2010
SAN GABRIEL, La Union: Government authorities have uprooted and
burned some 499,000 fully grown marijuana plants and destroyed
88,000 of its seedlings in a separate three-day operation—August
24 to 25 and September 1—in Sitio Mogong, Barangay Bayabas, San
Gabriel, La Union.
The joint operation was conducted by the Philippine Drug
Enforcement Agency, Philippine Navy, La Union Police Provincial
Office and the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations
Group near the Benguet-La Union boundary.
The group, despite foggy and heavy rains, braved treacherous,
mountainous and forested areas in an eight-hour trek by foot,
passing through strong river currents in Barangay Lon-oy, leading
to the plantation, on a tip by an informant.
It was learned that the marijuana plants were sowed from atop and
down to the slope of a mountain—some of them were concealed by
reinforced bamboo stalks, placed by the cultivators above them.
No cultivators, however, were arrested despite the presence of
houses, far apart in the said remote area. Authorities later
estimated the market value of the haul to P102,320,000.
Barangay Captain Gavino Baludda of Bayabas, in an interview said
that he is thankful that finally, authorities with high-powered
firearms are able to come to the area.
He suspected that the alleged cultivators scampered away upon the
arrival of authorities wielding high-powered firearms.