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ASEAN police alarmed by Philippines war on drugs

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
ASEAN police alarmed by Philippines war on drugs
Director General Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police chief, said there was wide recognition by ASEANAPOL members of the anti-drug campaign being waged by the PNP since President Duterte assumed office in 2016.
Noel Celis / AFP / File

MANILA, Philippines — Some members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations Police (ASEANAPOL) expressed apprehension that international drug cartels displaced by the massive crackdown in the Philippines might relocate to neighboring countries to continue operations.

Director General Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police chief, said there was wide recognition by ASEANAPOL members of the anti-drug campaign being waged by the PNP since President Duterte assumed office in 2016.

Albayalde, who led the PNP delegation to the three-day 38th ASEANAPOL Conference hosted by the Royal Brunei Police Force in Bandar Seri Begawan, noted that the apprehensions were raised during the conference.

He reported that there had been no industrial-scale manufacturing of amphetamine-based illegal drugs in the Philippines recently and attributed this to the hardline stance of the Philippine government against illegal drugs.

The PNP’s ASEANAPOL counterparts, he added, are all committed to continuing cooperation on regional and domestic security issues that were high on the agenda of the conference.

Also discussed during the conference were crimes involving intellectual property rights infringement; fraudulent travel documents; cybercrime; commercial crimes like money laundering, bank offenses and credit card fraud; maritime and cross-border crime; wildlife crime; trafficking in persons; arms smuggling; illicit drug trafficking and terrorism.

The group also tackled the continuing cooperation for the ASEAN police forensic science network, mutual assistance on criminal matters and the database system.

Although ASEANAPOL members were concerned about illegal drugs, Albayalde said terrorism remains a major concern among ASEAN countries.

“Terrorism remains on top of the security concerns of national police forces in the ASEAN and we share with them the same energy and will to respond forcefully to this global problem,” Albayalde added.

The PNP delegation also presented the Philippines’ country paper on terrorism, wherein the PNP recognized the significant contribution of international initiatives and cooperation in addressing terrorism.

Against the backdrop of the five-month siege of Marawi City in 2017, Albayalde said the PNP recognized the close coordination between the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia through the police attachés that helped in the identification, accounting and neutralization of foreign terrorist fighters who took part in the siege and are still staying in southern Philippines.

“Since the start of 2018, no cross-border incident has taken place as a result of existing mechanisms of cooperation between Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia in relation to safeguarding our maritime tri-boundary through joint and coordinated patrols in the Sulu, North Sulawesi and Celebes Seas,” the police chief added.

ASSOCIATION OF THE SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS POLICE

DRUG WAR

RODRIGO DUTERTE

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