The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency insisted marijuana plants do not naturally grow in the Cordillera region after raiding another plantation along the boundary of Mountain Province and Kalinga last Thursday.
PDEA-Cordillera director Gil Castro the marijuana plants were grown in purpose as evident by how they are taken care of and spaced evenly. He refuted claims that marijuana grows in the wild and without human intervention.
According to Castro, the plantation was discovered along the borders of Sadanga, Mountain Province, and Tinglayan, Kalinga, with an estimated value of around P2.55 million.
PDEA earlier raided four marijuana plantation sites covering a total of 6,150 square meters, according to Police Brig. Gen. RWin Pagkalinawan, Cordillera police director.
PDEA and the Philippine National Police are conducting an investigation “to find out who should be held criminally or administratively liable for intentional cultivation,” Castro said.
Sadanga Mayor Gabino Ganggangan confirmed the said plantations along his town’s borders with Tinglayan. He however, pointed out that those who are planting marijuana to his town are from Buscalan and Bugnay barangays.
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Local villagers say marijuana plants naturally grow in Cordillera
Kalinga Gov. Jocel Baac confirmed in 2018 the proliferation of illegal marijuana plantations, specifically in Tinglayan. He said socio-economic issues could have led to such unlawful activity.
Baac said planting marijuana has long been there in the area, even during the time of former President and chief of Philippine Constabulary Fidel V. Ramos.
“Time pa (niya) sinusunog na yan,” the former governor said. “The problem is, every time they burn or uproot, kumakalat naman ang buto. Pag umulan, according to residents, tutubo ulit.”
(During Ramos’ time, they would burn them. But the problem is every time they burn or uproot, the seeds scatter. According to the residents, they grow again when it rains.)
Baac denies allegations that local villagers in Mount Chumanchil complex in Tinglayan are marijuana growers. “Basta na lang daw tumutubo [they said they just grow],” he had said.
In February, the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) announced that medical marijuana cannabidiol is now allowed in the Philippines but only for “compassionate use” for patients with terminal illnesses.
DDB Chairman Catalino Cuy, however, clarified that marijuana use is still illegal in the country.