ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat inaugurated on Wednesday the newly renovated building of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional office financed by the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (JIATF)-West and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
“This new building is a testimony of the agency’s dedication and commitment to sustain the momentum in the fight against the drug menace,” Lobregat said in his speech during the unveiling ceremony in Calarian village.
PDEA Director General and Senior Undersecretary Dionisio Santiago and US DEA Country Attaché Timothy Teal graced the PDEA-9 building inauguration. Also present were Greg Mc Coy, representative of the JIATF-West, Naval Forces Western Mindanao chief Admiral Emilio Marayag, City Police Director Col. Jonathan Perez, PDEA-9 Director Adzhar Albani, Health Regional Director Dr. Aristedes Tan and representatives from the different agencies and sectors in the city.
Lobregat said the new building also manifests the strong support of the US government to the fight against illegal drugs.
“Like terrorism, the drug problem has become a global threat and we are very grateful that the United States has extended its support to us”, he said.
The construction of the building, costing about $250,000 was the result of a memorandum of understanding between the US government and the PDEA.
According to Lobregat, the difficulties faced on account of limited space or cramped environ of the old PDEA building are now a thing of the past. “With the inauguration and blessing of this new structure today, a new chapter is to begin in the history of the PDEA in Western Mindanao. This new structure signifies renewed efforts to combat drugs.”
He also praised PDEA-9’s accomplishments, the most recent of which was the discovery of shabu laboratories in Lamisahan, Tetuan and Talon-Talon villages and the consequent arrest of a Taiwanese suspect.
Lobregat vowed to continue supporting to the campaign against illegal drugs and called on all agencies concerned to work together for a drug-free Zamboanga. (Sheila Covarrubias)