Western Visayas drugs supply expected to drop by 20-30%

THE recent neutralization of suspected drug lord Richard Prevendido is seen to reduce the drugs supply in Western Visayas by about 20 to 30 percent.

Chief Superintendent Hawthorne Binag, director of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Western Visayas, said they also expect a decrease in drug-related crime incidents in the region.

"Now that there will be reduction in the supply (of hard drugs) and the number of those who are buying, we are expecting that the trend in focused crimes will decrease," Binag said in a press conference on September 2.

“When he (Prevendido) was still alive, there is already a downtrend in the eight focused crimes like robbery and theft,” he added.

READ: West Visayas top 'drug lord' killed in police operation

He recalled there was an estimated 60 percent drop in the supply of hard drugs in the region after suspected drug lord Melvin Odicta and his wife Meriam were killed at Caticlan Port in Malay on August 29, 2016.

Binag said Prevendido's death is not a reason to be lax, adding their anti-drug operations will continue as a new personality is expected to replace the leadership of the drug syndicate.

The neutralization of Prevendido, he said, gave the people more reasons to build a positive image for Iloilo.

“I hope this will help build a positive perception of Iloilo City, the province and the whole Western Visayas,” Binag said.

Binag described as “mission accomplished” Prevendido’s death.

He said the neutralization of Prevendido “is a product of our very good intelligence, the support of the community through the information they provided and the bounty.”

The police's next high value target, he said, is Ernesto Bolivar, also known as Erning, who is said to be a leader of Prevendido’s sub-group.

The slain top drug personality, who was leader of the Prevendido Drug Group, had a P1.1-million reward on his head.

Prevendido’s son, identified as Jason, was also killed in the police operation.

"This should serve as a warning doon sa mga gumagawa pa ng kalokohan. Hindi namin sila titigilan (This should serve as a warning to the criminals. We will not stop)," Binag said.

Law enforcers from the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (Ippo), Iloilo Coty Police Office, and the Police Regional Office-Western Visayas Intelligence Division were serving a warrant of arrest in Prevendido's house in Landheights Subdivision, Barangay Balabago, Jaro District, Iloilo City, when they were fired upon by two men.

Ippo Director Marlon Tayaba said they received a tip from a confidential informant on the exact location of the subject at 4 p.m. of September 1.

Recovered from the suspect’s house were various firearms, ammunition, four laptops, a crossbow and sachets of suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride).

Iloilo, the regional center of Western Visayas, has repeatedly been tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as the “most shabulized” and “bedrock of illegal drugs.” (PNA)