Alvariño said Cebu comes next to the National Capital Region as the center of economic activities causing demands for illegal drugs to increase.
“Like NCR, Cebu has lots of night entertainment centers and call centers,” he said, but he added that so far no incidents of drug mules in the entire Central Visayas have been recorded.
Data from the PDEA shows that there were 689 drug mules arrested in different countries from 1993 up to the present.
Alvariño explained that women are usually used as drug couriers since they are better at hiding drugs and can easily get along with people.
Various task forces against drugs were created to apprehend the pushers and users, among these task forces are Task Force Drug Couriers, Operation Kabayan, Operation Home Run, and Operation Bull’s Eye.
Alvariño said that big-time drug suppliers prefer to invest in the country since Philippines has the highest price of shabu per kilo compared to other countries.
In PDEA value, a kilo of shabu amounts to more or less P7 million.
Evella Durato of Philippine Overseas Employment Agency-Visayas encouraged all Filipinos who are planning to work abroad not to be a part of any illegal activity.
She said all they can do is conduct a pre-departure seminar for OFWs who are about to leave the country to inculcate their responsibilities.
Durato also advised them not to accept take-home packages from friends since sometimes these are where drugs are placed.
“You have to check the packages you are bringing back to the country kay wala ta kahibawo nga ang sulod na diay ato kay drugs,” she said.
Meanwhile, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia expressed willingness to help the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency put up a drug laboratory at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.
Garcia described it as an “eye-opener” when the three kilos of powdery substance confiscated from the two Chinese nationals at the Mactan Cebu International Airpor turned to be negative of precursors to illegal drugs when checked at the PDEA Laboratory in Manila.
Garcia is set to convene the Provincial Task Force Against Criminality which she heads.
To be invited during the meeting are the officials of the MCIA, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration and the Philippine National Police.