Wednesday, July 2, 2014


MANILA-An empowered citizenry committed to rejecting the temptation of drugs is one of the most effective defenses against drugs, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said Tuesday.

“The war on drugs is an advocacy as much as it is a campaign, and we give proper importance to the power of social mobilization in expanding our cause,” the Vice President said in his keynote speech at the 35th Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters in Makati.

“At stake in this fight is the future of our nation, and it is only proper that we enlist the help and power of each and every Filipino to see our efforts culminate in certain victory,” he added.

“We continue to harness the swelling support of our people to create a front that is wide enough and deep enough to withstand the assaults of drug rings worldwide,” he further said.

Binay said that as barriers to international and regional trade continue to come down, drug cartels also continue to expand their operations.

“The supply chain of illegal drugs has moved with greater sophistication and precision. Drug rings have exerted the most determined efforts not just to avoid detection, but to move larger quantities of their merchandise from source to market,” he said.

“The regional entry of top-level Western syndicates in the wholesale manufacturing of narcotics is a great cause for alarm and coldly underscores how complex and borderless the drug trade has become,” he added.

Binay, the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns, also noted that OFWs as well as those intending to find employment overseas have become prey to both local and international drug syndicates.

“Foreign criminal elements have used both social media channels and local scouts to recruit unsuspecting people from the provinces to serve their illicit end,” he said.

”In 2011, the Philippine Government busted members of the West African Drug Syndicate (WADS) in Manila for possession of cocaine that was to be smuggled into Thailand. WADS have gone as far as to send their operatives here as exchange students to marry Filipinas and then turn their brides into drug mules. The women fly out of Manila to a supply stopover to pick up drugs, and then to a final destination where the contraband is delivered,” he added.

The Vice President also mentioned the case of Sarah Villanueva, one of three Filipinos sentenced to death in China in 2012 for drug smuggling.

“Our countrywoman was asked by a fellow Filipino to bring along what looked to be an empty piece of luggage. It was only upon arrival in China where the suitcase proved to be lined with four kilos of heroin,” he said.

“The person who enticed Ms. Villanueva to transport this seemingly innocuous suitcase has been brought to justice, but Ms. Villanueva’s deceiver is only one of many who will go to great lengths to facilitate the trafficking of drugs, regardless of the lives that are risked and lost,” Binay added.

The Vice President then stressed the Philippines’ commitment to achieve a drug-free ASEAN by 2015.

“Our country’s efforts in supply reduction, demand reduction, alternative development, civic awareness and response, and international cooperation are merely beginnings in addressing the drug menace via a holistic, balanced, integrated and strategic approach,” he said.

He cited the government’s efforts to crackdown drug operations in the country, including the raid on a Batangas game fowl farm in February that led to the arrest of three members of the Mexican Siniloa Cartel and recovery of 84 kilograms of methamphetamine.

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