Manila: The Philippines top anti-drugs executive said President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent agreement with China on curbing illicit substances will go a long way in boosting the government’s drive against the menace.
According to Director General Isidro Lapena of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Protocol on Cooperation on Drugs, which he signed recently with Hu Minglang, Director General of China’s Narcotics Control Bureau, will greatly enhance the government’s bilateral capability to go after drug suspects.
The protocol was signed last October 20, 2016, during President Duterte’s visit to Beijing.
“Under the protocol, which will be effective for five years, the two countries agreed to establish and maintain cooperation on sharing information on drug crimes. Such information include an updated list and complete profile of drug suspects and status of arrested drug personalities who are citizens of each country,” Lapena said.
“Recognising that the drug menace is a lingering problem that is transnational in character and global in scope, the Philippines and China agreed to work together to liberate their territories from the bondage of illegal drugs,” the official said.
Duterte, reporting on the gains of his three-day official visit to China, said his trip marked a “turning point” in relations between the two Asian neighbours and showed that “both countries are fully capable of working together for mutual beneficial cooperation…”
“To combat the menace of illegal drug, we will continue across a broad range of areas, including in capacity building, equipment upgrading and support for rehabilitation purposes,” Duterte said.
The President was in China from October 18 to 21.
Both countries likewise agreed to set up mechanisms against movement of illicit drugs across their respective borders and establish a mechanism for joint investigation on special cases.
The matter on movement of illegal drugs is a common concern of the two countries.
Duterte has made the campaign against illegal drugs one of the centrepieces of his administration. Last July, several days after his inauguration as the new Philippine President, Duterte accused China of contributing to the country’s problem on illegal drugs.
He said that his basis for making this statement is that a considerable number of the unclaimed fatalities in the government’s drive against drugs are Chinese.
“Most of the people that they send in the Philippines do drugs. And these include those who are already in prison,” Duterte said.
The daily death toll in the government’s drive against drugs reach at least a dozen and there are no signs that this campaign will wind down.
The former Davao City mayor had said that he does not mind if his administration were awash with the blood of those who do drugs and grow rich by selling the banned substances at the expense of destroying families.
“I will not allow my country to be destroyed [by drugs],” Duterte said.