ILOILO CITY, March 27 (PNA) — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-6 (PDEA-6) is currently tightly monitoring all seaports in Western Visayas, particularly those with Roll-on/Roll-off (roro) vessels as summer season starts.

This as the agency confirmed that seaports are still the major entry points of illegal drugs in the region.

There are 17 major seaports in the region.

Among these ports are two international ports in Loboc, La Paz, Iloilo City and BREDCO port in Bacolod City.

The Muelley port plying Iloilo-Bacolod vice versa and Fort San Pedro are also target of routine monthly monitoring of the agency.

Also under tight watch of PDEA-6 are the ports in San Jose and Lipata in Culasi, both in Antique and Culasi port in Roxas City, Dumaguete and Caticlan ports in Aklan.

In Iloilo, PDEA-6 is monitoring ports of Estancia, Dumangas and Culasi in Ajuy and several ports in Negros Occidental including Banago wharf, San Carlos in San Carlos City, Danao ports in Escalante City, and ports of Pulupandan, and Victoria City.

PDEA-6 regional director Paul Ledesma said they will start their strict monitoring in Caticlan port in Aklan where big roro vessels are plying in Luzon and Mindanao vice versa.

“Not necessary that Caticlan port where Boracay Island is located has been identified to be the shipment point of drugs but because of more roro vessels entering the area going to other provinces in the region,” he said.

Starting on Saturday, Ledesma said that they will begin to deploy K-9 or sniffing dogs at the area to deter possible entry of illegal drugs.

The director said that they will coordinate with the Philippine Coast Guard 6 (PCG-6) for doing the preemptive measures.

The PCG-6 has 10 K9 or bomb sniffing dogs scattered in the region.

He said there are three standby K9 dogs in areas of Muelle Loney and Fort San Pedro, all in Iloilo City, another three in Boracay, two each for Bacolod City and Dumangas, Iloilo, respectively.

The PCG-6 is tasked to conduct regular inspections, paneling and sanitation of all port facilities, vessels, baggage and cargoes prior to departure. (PNA)