MANILA -- Senator Joel Villanueva on Wednesday hailed the efforts of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in seizing a total of PHP1.1 billion worth of shabu in separate buy-bust operations in Muntinlupa City.

The illegal drugs were confiscated from three Chinese nationals at the parking lot of Festival Mall and a house inside the posh Ayala Alabang Village.

"Congratulations to our antinarcotics agents from Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for its successful operation last night at Ayala Alabang. The operation prevented PHP1.1 billion worth of shabu from hitting the streets here and abroad where agents believe it will be shipped out," Villanueva said.

"We hope that the PDEA keeps pressing on with their campaign to get rid of drugs in the country," he added.

Villanueva stressed the need to better secure the country's borders and prevent "undesirable foreigners from entering our shores."

"Most likely the foreigners that were arrested during PDEA's buy-bust operation don't have the appropriate permits to stay or work here. I believe the jobs of antinarcotics agents would be made easier if foreigners visiting the country are properly screened at the point of entry," Villanueva said in Filipino.

"There is no room for foreigners who smuggle illegal drugs into our country, and we should not let them step foot, or even let them work, here," he added.

He said he is anticipating the memorandum circular being drafted by the Department of Labor and Employment which should address the growing problem of illegal foreign workers in the country.

He said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III mentioned the interagency task force agreed to implement a process wherein a foreign national intending to work here in the country must secure a working permit and visa at the country of origin.

"We hope that this would reduce the number of illegal foreign workers here if these new policies are implemented," Villanueva added.

Philippine National Police spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac identified the suspects as Chua Kian Kok, 43; Go Kei Kei, 40; Li Zhao Yang, 19; and Emmanuel Pascual, 79.

Chua, Go and Pascual were arrested by PDEA and Station Drug Enforcement Unit of the Muntinlupa City police station at the parking lot of Festival Mall, which resulted in the seizure of 43.5 kilograms of shabu worth PHP295 million at around 5:30 p.m.

An hour later, authorities arrested Li and confiscated another 123 kilograms of shabu worth PHP836 million in a follow-up operation inside the Ayala Alabang Village. (PNA)