Dealers could use delivery riders for illegal drug trade—DDB

Dealers could use delivery riders for illegal drug trade—DDB

THERE are reports that delivery riders are unknowingly being used to transport illegal drugs according to Dangerous Drug Board.

During the pandemic, many were afraid to leave homes due to the highly contagious and deadly COVID-19.

At that time, Filipinos had no choice but to follow the numerous lockdown orders in every barangay.

Some people seized the opportunity to become delivery riders. From food to essential items, everything was ordered online, making it a convenient trend as people avoided leaving home.

Online shopping was the trend during those times.

For those who turned to delivery riding, it offered income at a time when face-to-face work was restricted, including Ben, who started during the pandemic and continues today.

He is aware of his job’s challenges, like road dangers and extreme weather conditions.

But aside from these challenges, delivery riders like also worry about being used to deliver illegal drugs.

In an interview, Ben shared how criminals once exploited his son.

“Especially my son, he picked up a package in Makati and brought it to Pampanga, he got scared. It was supposed to be a doll as a gift, it was packaged, but when he got there, he saw that the location was in a hidden place” said Ben Castelo, Delivery Rider.

“When he delivered it, he was paid a lot, almost triple the price. He knew it was illegal drugs because the people there said, “you dropped off again”, something like that,” he added.

That’s why he is extra careful when receiving and delivering parcels.

“I am careful, especially with illegal items, I think first about what I’m carrying. Like when someone sends something illegal, especially when the tip is big, small fare but big tip, it’s surely illegal,” he also added.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Sotto expressed concern over the situation, noting a decrease in drug-related incidents but emphasizing worries that law-abiding individuals are being exploited for illegal activities

“There is a downtrend for a certain bracket, but we identified that our riders are being used, that’s why we had this event to teach riders how to identify if they are being used for illegal drugs,” said Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, Quezon City.

DDB holds seminar to protect delivery riders from illegal drug trade

To assist and safeguard Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) riders from being unwittingly involved in the illegal drug trade, the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) conducted a seminar. The session aimed to educate delivery riders on how to handle suspicious parcels.

The seminar coincided with the annual celebration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (DADAIT), attended by some TNVS drivers.

Among the attendees was Marvin Evangelista, Head of Compliance of a logistics company in the Philippines. Marvin highlighted the seminar’s benefits in facilitating collaborative efforts among various groups to prevent contraband from passing through their companies.

“Of course, we have safety measures to ensure the safety and contents of our parcels, first we have to know your customers, especially our VIP sellers, we conduct subtle investigations into their background, we ask for certain requirements to ensure they are legitimate sellers,” according to Marvin Evangelista, Head of compliance, J&T Express.

DDB Assistant Secretary Lheng Matibag emphasized the agency’s focus on TNVS riders during the activity, citing them as frequent victims of unknowingly transporting questionable parcels that may contain illegal drugs.

“This is offered by the Dangerous Drugs Board, along with the Quezon City government, MMDA, LTO, and the PSSC to spread knowledge and awareness about the possible consequences if you become a victim of unscrupulous people sending you illegal products,” said Asec. Lheng V. Matibag, Deputy Exec. Dir for operations, DDB.

Meanwhile, Asec Matibag urged the public to unite to prevent the spread of illegal drugs in the Philippines.

“I hope we all become conscious, let’s help the government to be aware against illegal drugs,” added Matibag.


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