PHILIPPINE Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino is in mainland China leading the country’s delegation to a two-week training course on international cooperation as part of the deepening relations between the two countries.
Aquino, in a statement, said the country’s attendance to the training course on cooperation in Fuzhou City, Fujian will help address key challenges on the evolving drug scene and strengthening cross-border intelligence and investigation of the two countries.
“On behalf of our people, we offer our sincerest gratitude to the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) for inviting PDEA to participate in this training. Indeed, the cooperation and understanding among our nations, more specifically between our law enforcement agencies, is a fundamental necessity to build and achieve things together for our countries,” Aquino said.
The training is part of the five-year Protocol on Cooperation agreed by the PDEA and the Narcotics Control Bureau of the MPS of the People’s Republic of China on October 20, 2016 in Beijing, the capital city of the PROC.
(Read More: http://www.chinatopix.com/articles/104315/20161023/chinas-narcotics-control-bureau-pdea-sign-protocol-cooperation.htm)
Aside from the training on international cooperation, the agreement has paved the way for a series of bilateral meetings, other joint training on drug law enforcement and customs control and shared investigations on drug trafficking and abuse.
“The drug menace is a lingering problem that is transnational in character and global in scope. For this reason, the Philippines and PROC have pledged to work together to liberate their territories from the bondage of illegal drugs,” Aquino said.
In a related development, the PROC is also expected to donate two sets of Liquid Mass Combination Instrument, a device used to identify substances, to the PDEA Laboratory Service, thus augmenting its forensic examination capabilities.
Aquino said that PDEA, being a recipient of donated equipment and free training, are more than grateful for the generosity and support of the Chinese government in the Agency’s crusade against the use and proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.
“We cannot do the fight alone. The drug cartels and syndicated drug organizations have massive resources and funding – enabling them to easily move their illicit products from one point to another in our region. We need all the support we can gather from our neighboring countries, particularly in terms of cross-border law enforcement and customs control,” the PDEA chief added.
Moreover, Aquino said “rest assured that our government, through the PDEA, will always cooperate and extend diplomatic protocols to the People’s Republic of China in all aspects of drug law enforcement. We remain hopeful that our mutual understanding and cooperation will continue until we achieve our mission to stop the illegal drug trade in our respective borders,” the PDEA chief added.
The history between the Republic of the Philippines and People’s Republic of China on cooperation against illicit trafficking and abuse of psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals dates back to 2001.
Meanwhile, Aquino thanked Malacañang for the vote of confidence when it transferred the responsibility of the anti-illegal drugs operation in the country from the Philippine National Police to the agency as it vowed to deliver tangible results.
(Read More: http://beyonddeadlines.com/2017/10/12/back-to-the-ph-dea/)
“All we need are words of support and encouragement not minding the detraction that come PDEA’s way as the solitary authority to lead the country’s war against illegal drugs,” Aquino said.
“PDEA is obliged to do more with less. Though undermanned, under equipped and inadequately funded, we will not let the public down. We will deliver what is expected of us,” the PDEA chief said.
The PDEA chief assured that the war on drugs will be less bloody and will follow the rule of law now that the Agency is the sole authority to conduct anti-drug operations.
“From body-worn cameras to accompanying media presence, these would ensure a culture of transparency in our day-to-day operations in the streets,” he said.
Records shows that from July 1, 2016 to present, only 28 drug personalities who fought it out with PDEA agents were killed during legitimate operations.
However, one of the world’s leading human rights defender group, Amnesty International (AI), has expressed skepticism over the recent decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to transfer the responsibility of leading the anti-drug campaign from the PNP to the PDEA.
AI sees the relief of the PNP and putting PDEA in charge of the anti-drug campaign as nothing short of a momentary publicity stunt designed to quell the growing public furor over the alleged brutality of the war on drugs.
(Read More: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/10/philippines-fundamental-policy-shift-needed-to-end-murderous-war-on-drugs/)
Aquino, however, noted that “the PDEA is mandated to bring order to the national anti-drug campaign which sits alongside the precise accountability for it. However, some people are already diminishing PDEA is doomed to fail even before it hardly gets its feet wet. We must do what is supposed to be done in the hope of silencing our critics.”
As this developed, the Senate Finance Committee is set to allocate an operational budget of P2.6-billion for PDEA in 2018.
On the other hand, some members of the House of Representatives are mulling the idea to realign the P900-million budget of the PNP’s “Oplan Tokhang” and “Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded” which are suspended indefinitely, to augment the PDEA’s budget.
“Additional budget allocation for PDEA will go a long way in enhancing the Agency’s capabilities by hiring more agents and personnel and purchasing modern equipment to keep pace with drug syndicates,” Aquino noted.