Drug-sniffing dogs to help patrol Cebu jail, bus terminal
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The provincial government of Cebu on Monday, October 24, turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Central Visayas 3 canines trained to sniff for drugs.
One of the dogs will be deployed to the Cebu Provincial Detention Center (CPDRC) full time. The other will be assigned at the Cebu South Bus Terminal. The third dog will serve as a reliever, said PDEA Region VII Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz.
In addition to looking for drugs, the dogs are also trained in sniffing for explosives.
"Our deployment of the canines are not random. It will be full time, with rotations," Ruiz said.
Each dog will cost the province P33,000 a month to maintain.
In August, a raid on the provincial jail yielded "considerable quantities of shabu, weighing scales, P61,000 in cash, and other drug paraphernalia," he said.
On October 1, an inmate was also caught sniffing drugs in his cell.
The budget for the dogs and the handlers will come from the provincial government, but will be managed by PDEA.
Ruiz told reporters about a recent incident, where outsiders attempted to throw a tennis ball packed with shabu over the fence into the prison walls. "Luckily, the balls landed on the roof and the inmates were unable to fetch the balls," he said.
Last September 3, over 180 cell phones were confiscated from inside the CPDRC. Deputy House Speaker and former Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has called for a probe into the drugs that were found in the CPDRC.
The prison was known for the drug rehab program that produced the dancing inmates. It has since faced a string of issues. Last July, at least 10 CPDRC inmates died, with most of the deaths attributed to cardiac arrest brought about by pneumonia. A prison health worker said that overcrowding might have triggered the disease.
Jail warden Romeo Manansala and consultant Marco Toral resigned last August over violations committed at the CPDRC. Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III took over as the jail's warden for several weeks before appointing former consultant Roberto Legaspi as officer-in-charge.
"We are strengthening our systems so that it would be more difficult for drugs to enter the prison," Legaspi said.
He said the new measures included confiscating cell phones, stricter visitors rules, regular 'tapoks' or get-togethers for talks on drug use, and the drug sniffing dogs.
While the prison was built to hold only 1,500, it now houses about 3,000 inmates due to the government's crackdown on drug pushers and users.
According to Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office Director Ivy Durano Meca, the province is looking to give PDEA more drug-sniffing dogs within the year. – Rappler.com