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Duterte urges ASEAN anew: Redouble collective efforts vs drugs, other threats

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Duterte urges ASEAN anew: Redouble collective efforts vs drugs, other threats
Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte attends the plenary session of the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok on June 22, 2019.
AFP / Lillian Suwanrumpha

MANILA, Philippines— President Rodrigo on Saturday called on the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to redouble their efforts to combat various threats in the nations such as illegal drugs, terrorism, violent extremism and transnational crimes.

In his intervention at the 34th ASEAN summit in Thailand, Duterte cited that these factors continue to threaten security.

"They divide our communities, destroy families, and undermine the growth we fought hard to achieve. Illegal drugs, in particular, corrode the very fabric of our societies,” Duterte said during his intervention at the summit’s plenary.

"We must redouble our collective efforts to counter these threats effectively and with finality," he added.

Call for a 'drug-free ASEAN' in 2016

On his first year as president of the Philippines in 2016, Duterte—who vowed to end illegal drugs in three to six months in office even during his campaign—said he is also committed to work with ASEAN member-states "to fully realize a drug-free ASEAN."

Duterte then cited that the drug problem has gone beyond borders, affecting ASEAN.

“The international drug cartels have been working and we have to fight them,” the president said then.

“The security of the region hinges on the cooperation of member-states,” he also said.

“We will call for renewed cooperation for a drug-free ASEAN community,” Duterte was quoted as saying.

READ: Duterte in Laos, seeks Asean unity vs terror, drugs

Duterte, however, failed to accomplish his vow on his self-imposed deadline and asked for an extension.

READ: A year of hits, misses and postponed promises

The president said it was a “miscalculation” on his part when he promised to end the drug problem in three to six months.

Tough-talking Duterte drew flak from various local and international rights groups for the spate of killings linked to his bloody drug war.

The Philippine National Police recently said at least 6,600 drug suspects were killed in police operations since Duterte assumed office on July 1, 2016. The number covers until May 31 this year.

Duterte reiterates call in 2017

In 2017, Duterte took the opportunity to once again air the illegal drug problem in ASEAN member countries He said the illegal drugs imperil "the very fabric of society."

"These and other issues are high on the agenda of our meetings along with other non-security issues that challenge the prosperity of our economies, the integrity of our institutions and more importantly the safety of our people," Duterte said before the ASEAN delegates in 2017.

READ: Duterte, at ASEAN opening, highlights security and drug problems

In November 2018, Duterte recognized the support for a drug-free ASEAN.

“There is greater security cooperation in counter-terrorism and a wider support for a Drug-Free ASEAN,” Duterte told his fellow leaders at the 21st ASEAN-Japan Summit in Singapore.

ASEAN joint declaration for a drug-free region

In 2012, the foreign ministers of ASEAN issued a joint declaration for a drug-free ASEAN.

The member countries recognized “that the alarming growth of the illicit global drug trade, which includes narcotics and psychotropic substances, continues to adversely affect the welfare of nations and their peoples including those of the ASEAN.”

The leaders were concerned that the illicit drug abuse and traffic “seriously endangers” the development programs of the ASEAN especially for the region’s youth.

To resolve the growing drug problems within the region, the ASEAN leaders seek to achieve drug-free region by following the measures below in the spirit of amity and cooperation:

  • Seek all modalities to eradicate illicit drug production, processing, trafficking and use in ASEAN by the year 2020.

  • Strengthen and promote linkage among existing regional institutional mechanism involved in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking, such as the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD), ASEAN Chiefs of National Police (ASEANAPOL), the ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM), the ASEAN Sub-Committee on Youth (ASY) and the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime, the 1993 MOU countries on Drug Control, and the ASEAN Secretariat.

  • Enter into collaborative undertakings, in the interest of continued development and upgrading of human resources, with ASEAN Dialogue Partners to help curb illicit drug abuse, production, and trafficking in the region, particularly in the areas of law enforcement, intelligence, rehabilitation and treatment, alternative development, preventive education, preventive information, community participation, research and human-resource development.

  • Seek the review of jurisprudence related to illicit drug abuse and trafficking and move for the passage of stricter laws on these crimes against society.

  • Upgrade and expand regional and national data banks on illicit drugs, to include more information on illicit drug production and trafficking, existing drug control activities, programmes and legislation, evaluation methodologies and resource experts.

  • Expand awareness, education and rehabilitation programs among the region’s youth, including the work program on Skills Training for Out-of-School Youth, to eliminate the demand for illicit drugs by the year 2020.

  • Establish programmes to tackle the growing problem of Amphetamine-Type, Stimulants (ATS), with the view to strengthen the national regulatory, legal and administrative controls over the importation, exportion, distribution, manufacture and use of ATS.

  • Intensify partnerships with relevant international agencies and organizations such as the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), the World Health Organization, World Customs Council, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Colombo Plan Secretariat, and Interpol.

  • Strengthen the existing ASEAN Training Centers for human-resource Development in related fields on narcotics law enforcement, preventive education, treatment and rehabilitation, and research.

  • Intensify the exchange of information among ASEAN countries.

  • Continue to expand and enhance the role of non-governmental organization (NGOs), as well as the private sector in collaborative alliances in the development and implementation of drug abuse prevention and control programs and activities.

  • Work for the immediate ratification by all ASEAN Member Countries of relevant international treaties and agreements on illicit drug abuse and trafficking.

  • Reinforce cooperation and coordination among ASEAN Member Countries, especially in the areas of investigation, prosecution, mutual legal assistance, inquiry, forfeiture of property, rehabilitation and treatment, preventive education, and research to help combat illicit drug abuse and trafficking.

  • Identification and promotion of alternative sources of livelihood for people who are expected to be adversely affected by the curtailment, and eventually, stoppage of drug production.

This declaration was released during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

ASEAN ASEAN 2019 BANGKOK DRUG WAR RODRIGO DUTERTE THAILAND WAR ON DRUGS
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