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P120-m Marijuana Plants Destroyed

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420 Staff
Policemen uprooted and torched some 602,000 marijuana plants worth about P120 million in separate raids last week on marijuana plantations believed maintained by the New People's Army ( NPA ) in the hinterlands of Benguet and Ifugao.

Elements of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force ( AIDSOTF ), headed by Director Marcelo Ele Jr., made no arrests but made sure that local residents were given livelihood projects to prevent them from returning to marijuana cultivation.

Ele said a civilian informant led them to the marijuana plantations on the hilly areas of Sitio Lubuk in Barangay Ahin, Tinoc, Ifugao and Sitio Soukan in Barangay Lam-ayan, Buguias, Benguet.

Acting on the information, Ele carried out operation plan "Greengrass" in coordination with Chief Superintendent Leonardo Dionisio, Cordillera police director, and Senior Superintendent Rodrigo Licudine, action officer of the regional AIDSOTF.

The AIDSOTF agents, led by Senior Superintendent Rogelio Damazo, had to walk for eight hours to reach the marijuana plantations.

The Ifugao raid resulted in the uprooting of 102,000 marijuana plants and 60 kilos of dried marijuana fruiting tops, valued at P20.65 million.

In the Benguet operation, on the other hand, some 500,000 marijuana plants worth about P100.75 million were uprooted and torched.

Damazo gathered from villagers that NPA rebels had ordered local farmers to cultivate marijuana.

Last Wednesday, the local folk, Dionisio and representatives of the regional offices of the departments of agriculture, science and technology, trade and industry, and health signed a memorandum of agreement to provide alternative livelihood to those affected by COPLAN "Greengrass."

Source: Philippine Star (Philippines)
Copyright: PhilSTAR Daily Inc. 2005
Contact: editor@philstar.net.ph
Website: http://www.philstar.com/
 
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