US gives $2 M more for Philippines drug rehab

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - September 8, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — The US government has provided the Philippines an additional $2 million or more than P102 million to support drug rehabilitation programs under the two countries’ six-year-old agreement on fighting the illegal drug trade.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and US Ambassador Sung Kim signed yesterday the fifth amendment to the Philippines-US Letter of Agreement on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement of 2011.

Kim said funding from the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs would be used for community-based programs, including prevention of drug use and treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependents.

“We share President Duterte’s concerns on the dangers brought by illicit drugs. This is a real menace that affects lives,” Kim said in a speech at the signing ceremony held at the Department of Foreign Affairs head office in Pasay City.

Cayetano, for his part, said the new funding would focus on the reduction of demand and on the health aspect of the drug war or rehabilitation.

Kim earlier called on Philippine authorities to investigate the cases of two teenagers – Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz – who were killed in anti-illegal drug operations.

Cayetano said he agrees that police abuses must stop but not the entire drug war.

He also assured the US official that the Philippines continues to honor international obligations under human rights treaties.

“When we signed this agreement, we signed it with confidence that we are protecting the human rights of all Filipinos, not just the criminals,” he said. 

“There’s no attempt on the Philippine government to turn our back on international obligation on human rights,” Cayetano said. 

The administration’s drug war continues to receive criticisms from rights advocates here and abroad, including former US president Barack Obama and UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard.?The US earlier committed P730 million, or over $14 million, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), in emergency relief and recovery assistance for the affected communities in the ongoing firefight in Marawi City between government forces and IS-linked Maute group.

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