Philippines, Colombia discuss fight vs illegal drugs
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - November 17, 2015 - 12:42am

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday held a bilateral meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss the the two countries' common concerns on combating illegal drug trade and drug abuse.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on a press conference that the Santos offered his country's knowledge and experience in anti-insurgency and anti-illegal drugs campaign.

"Like Colombia, the Philippines is taking steps to improve people's quality of life by bringing social opportunities closer to them, thus channeling their energies to legitimate sources of income," Coloma said.

Aquino, on the other hand, congratulated Santos for the developments in the peace process in Colombia. He expressed good wishes on the Colombian government's signing of a final agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in 2016.

The president also offered the Philippines's assistance and advice in the peace process to Colombia, Coloma said.

The Philippine government is currently dealing with Moro rebels in Mindanao.

In his meeting with Santos, Aquino shared the country's experiences on the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or Conditional Cash Transfer program and PhilHealth universal health care, which addresses poverty issues.

"President Aquino said that the Philippines will share learning and best practices in building back better and establishing disaster resiliency," Coloma added.

Aquino thanked the Colombian president for participating in the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Santos will attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting as an observer.

READ: Colombian president arrives in Manila as APEC observer

"He noted that the efforts and initiatives of Colombia to become a part of APEC will hopefully find full fruition in the near future," Coloma said.

Last Monday, Aquino held bilateral talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, where both leaders agreed to pursue a possible free trade agreement.

LIVE UPDATES: APEC 2015 meetings in Manila

APEC AQUINO ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION CHILEAN PRESIDENT MICHELLE BACHELET COLOMA COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CONDITIONAL CASH TRANSFER ECONOMIC LEADERS LAST MONDAY PRESIDENT QUOT
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