Officials of the ASEAN-China Center (ACC) hosting the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road conference in this southeastern Chinese city yesterday welcomed the alliance formed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China to effectively suppress and control drug crimes between the two countries.
ACC secretary general Yang Xiuping said although the focus of the conference is to enhance cooperation in trade, culture, investment, education, tourism, and information, it is a welcome development for the 11-nation organization that the two countries agreed to form a strong stand against illegal drugs, which is a global problem.
Xia Hallin, ACC coordinator and editor of the China Report, China’s national political and economic journal, said the drug problem is obviously one area where cooperation is badly needed.
“Illegal drug use is also an issue in some parts of China so it important that China and the members of the ASEAN close ranks to fight its proliferation,” Xia told The STAR.
PDEA director general Isidro Lapeña and Hu Minglang, chief of China’s Narcotics Control Bureau, signed a separate protocol on cooperation during President Duterte’s state visit in Beijing on Thursday.
Under the protocol, which will be effective for five years, the two countries agreed to establish and maintain cooperation involving information and data exchange on drug crimes, including an updated list and complete profile, if possible, of drug suspects and status of arrested drug personalities who are citizens of each country for the purpose of conducting further investigation, cooperation in drug crime investigations, assistance in repatriation of drug criminals, and exchange and training of narcotics investigators.
Both parties have come to terms in determining specific measures for cooperation by frequent consultation.
The two sides also agreed to hold annual meetings, whenever necessary.
“Recognizing that the drug menace is a lingering problem transnational in character and global in scope, the Philippines and China have vowed to work together to liberate their territories from illegal drugs,” Lapeña said.