Lawmakers from 10 ASEAN countries on Wednesday braced themselves against the evils of illegal drugs and vowed to provide peoples of the regional economic bloc with a “secure, stable, and drug-free environment for future generations.”
A total of 52 delegates from member-parliaments of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) – Advisory Council on Dangerous Drugs (AIPACODD) adopted the “Resolution on Securing a Drug-Free ASEAN Community for Future Generation” at the end of the two-day meeting in Singapore.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, chair of the House of Representatives’ committee on dangerous drugs, led Philippine parliamentarians in the meeting. Other members of the delegation were Representatives Rodel Batocabe (AKO BICOL Partylist), Edgar Mary Sarmiento (Samar) and Arnolfo Teves Jr. (Negros Oriental).
“We are pleased with the strong expression of support for a collective effort to curtail the drug menace in the ASEAN region, particularly with the commitment to exchange information to cut the supply chain which we are already doing in the Philippines,” Barbers said.
In the AIPACODD resolution, parliamentarians expressed concern that “the illicit drug production, misuse, trafficking and diversion from licit use, remains a challenge” for ASEAN.
The concern was also highlighted in the findings of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Maters presented during the 13th AIFOCOM (AIPA Fact-Finding Committee to Combat the Drug Menace) in Manila last year.
The resolution also said that member-parliaments were aware that “drug abuse destabilizes the family unit, which is the cornerstone of strong communities and nations.”
It further called upon member-parliaments to urge their governments to support rehabilitation programs to save drug abusers from their addiction, and to put in place adequate aftercare services to complement the initial treatment and rehabilitation efforts,
Accordingly, preventive drug education for children and youths is the first line of defense against drug experimentation.
During the AIPACODD meetings, delegates presented their country reports on the drug problem and how their governments were addressing the drug menace.
The Philippines Country Report stated that President Rodrigo Duterte’s intensified war on drugs manifested the government’s serious fight against the drug problem.
It said that 2017 marked a milestone in the anti-drug campaign, with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other anti-drug enforcement agencies netting P5.24 billion worth of seized drugs and non-drug evidence, including those recovered from 238 high impact operations and 2,435 high-value targets.
Also, a total of 38,830 anti-drug operations were conducted, resulting in the arrest of 75,008 drug personalities and filing of 37,430 drug cases against the arrested suspects.
Among major dangerous drugs seized during the year were shabu, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, and ephedrine.
The Philippine report said that partnership with different local and international counterparts and organizations had been strengthened to ensure the continuing success of the anti-drug campaign.#