Alvarez to ASEAN lawmakers: Join Duterte’s anti-drug campaign

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez today urged lawmakers from the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member- states to join President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs as he also reiterated his firm support behind such effort.

Alvarez aired the call in his welcome remarks at the opening of the 13th meeting of the AIPA Fact Finding Committee (AIFOCOM) to Combat the Drug Menace, held at Conrad Hotel in Pasay City. Alvarez is the incumbent President of the AIPA (ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly).

He noted that during the 30th ASEAN Summit here in the Philippines, Pres. Duterte called on leaders of ASEAN to unite in addressing the menace of illegal drugs in the region.

I take this opportunity to urge you to do the same. With political will and cooperation, we will dismantle the massive illegal drug trade apparatus.

He noted that drug trafficking has remained a major security concern in the ASEAN community and that the region has become a major transshipment hub for illegal drugs by transnational organized crime groups to meet the demand of an increasingly growing international market for illegal drugs.

We cannot ignore the impact of drug use on society�especially to the family and the youth. Financial difficulties are just some of the challenges a family may face. We simply cannot stand idly by as our region succumbs to the debilitating effects of illegal drugs, Alvarez stressed.

He noted that the ASEAN community already made its initial moves to face the problem with the adoption last year of the ASEAN Work Plan on Securing Communities against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025.

As legislators, we support this vision by introducing measures that could strengthen mechanisms to stop the production, trafficking, and abuse of illicit drugs in our countries, Alvarez said.

He also urged AIPA member-states to enhance cooperation in the field of law enforcement and the criminal justice system, to raise awareness and educate all sectors of society especially the youth, and engage local communities, schools and the media to support the realization of a drug-free ASEAN.

AIPA Secretary General Isra Sunthornvut, for his part, thanked the Philippines for hosting the meeting and enjoined legislative bodies in the region to combine their efforts to combat the drug menace.

While the delegates to the AIFOCOM meeting came in formal attire, the mood was palpably casual as many were seen greeting each other and engaging in informal discussions before the start of the session.

The session was suspended shortly after the opening remarks of Speaker Alvarez and Sunthornvut to give way for a unity photo before the body convened again to start tackling the agenda for the meeting slated for July 5-8, 2017.

Source: House of Representatives

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