Anti-drug campaign gets China aid pledge

CHINA has pledged to help the Philippines in its anti-narcotics campaign by providing intelligence information on Chinese nationals who are believed to be behind the P500-billion drug trade in the country.

Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa said China made the pledge during the 36th annual conference of police chiefs of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Malaysia last Wednesday.

In fact, Dela Rosa said, Beijing has already provided information packets on two Chinese drug lords Peter Co and Peter Lim.

Co is already detained at the National Bilibid Prison while Lim is the Cebu businessman whom President Rodrigo Duterte publicly identified as being behind the narcotics trade in the Visayas region.

Duterte said last July 18 that he would confront China about the involvement of Chinese officials in the illegal drug trade once "bigger issues" such as the country's territorial dispute over the South China Sea are settled.

"When I come face to face with them, I will tell them all that is bothering me," Duterte said in Filipino at a gathering of his San Beda College of Law classmates in MalacaAang.

Duterte recently accused five police generals of protecting three big-time Chinese-Filipino drug lords and noted that four Hong Kong nationals were arrested when police raided "floating shabu laboratories" in waters off Subic.

"They were cooking shabu on board Chinese-registered ships," Duterte said. "[We will deal with this] at the proper time, but not now."

Former secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government Rafael Alunan said the illegal drug trade in the Philippines is now a national crisis.

"The illegal drugs industry is a P500 billion a year business and 30 percent goes to bribery to police, and national and local officials, including the criminal justice system. That's P150 billion [for bribery]. That is no joke. That's enough money to control the government and to ensure continuity of your business," Alunan said.

Meanwhile, Department of Interior and Local Government said Filipino doctors working in the United States have offered to help in the rehabilitation process of drug dependents.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno said US-based Filipino psychiatrists will be arriving soon to render community-based rehabilitation among drug dependents.

"We have lot of volunteers, some coming from the US Filipino doctors to render their support and help us in rehabilitation centers," Sueno said.

Dela Rosa said other Asean police chiefs also promised similar cooperation in the country's ongoing battle against narcotics but declined to disclose details.

Aside from Chinese bigtime drug syndicates, authorities are also tracking Nigerian and Mexican drug lords, Dela Rosa said.

Source: The Standard

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