THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China on Thursday signed a formal alliance to suppress drug trafficking and abuse in both countries.
PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña and his Chinese counterpart, Director General Hu Minglang, signed the Protocol on Cooperation n Beijing, China during the meeting between President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday night.
Lapeña said that 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 the 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.
In addition, both parties have come to terms in determining specific measures for cooperation by frequent consultation. Both also agreed to hold, when practicable, annual meetings whenever necessary.
“Recognizing that the drug menace is a lingering problem that is transnational in character and global in scope, the Philippines and PRC have vowed to work together to liberate their territories from the bondage of illegal drugs,” the PDEA chief said.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa joined the presidential delegation to Beijing. Earlier, the PNP and the PDEA said Chinese, African and Mexican drug syndicates are facilitating the supply of illegal drug users in the country which is estimated to be around 3.7 million as of June this year.
Chinese Drug Syndicates dominate the drug market in the country. They are responsible for the manufacture and bulk smuggling of shabu into the country.
Most members of these syndicates include Chinese drug lords incarcerated at the National Bilibid Prisons who were still able to continue their illegal drug activities by facilitating the smuggling of shabu and the establishment of shabu laboratories in the country. Reportedly, they control 70-80 percent of the supply of shabu in the country.
In his 100-days report on the war against illegal drugs, Lapeña said the voluntary surrender during the period of 733,635 drug personalities which comprises 24 percent of the 3.7 million drug users nationwide is considered a ‘breakthrough in the history of drug law enforcement in the country.’
The confessed drug addicts and users surrendered to the PNP after Gen. de la Rosa ordered the conduct of the PNP Project: Double Barrel composed of Oplan: Tokhang and Project: High-Value Target. Nearly half of the surrenderers are known users of shabu or the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine.’
Lapeña said based on the average consumption per intake of shabu of 0.04 gram, these shabu users consume an estimated 5.425 metric tons of shabu worth P27 billion per year.
Since July 1, the day Gen. de la Rosa launched the PNP Anti-Illegal Drug Campaign Plan called Project: Double Barrel, police have already conducted over 31,600 anti-narcotics operations which led in the arrest of over 30,000 known drug personalities and the neutralization of nearly 1,900armed drug traffickers during gunfights with arresting officers.
The conduct of the PNP Oplan: Tokhang during the period has also resulted in the surrender of around 750,000 confessed drug personalities composed of nearly 700 shabu or marijuana users and over 543,000 drug traffickers. Police have already visited nearly 2.4 million houses since the Oplan: Tokhang was implemented.
These operations however have cost the lives of 13 policemen and three soldiers and injuries to 38 other police officers and eight Armed Forces personnel.