MANILA, Philippines — With many countries, mostly in the West, as well as the United Nations vocally critical of the administration’s deadly war on drugs, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has sought support closer to home, from other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Addressing the opening of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Fact Finding Committee to Combat the Drug Menace, Alvarez urged regional leaders to follow the Philippines’ lead in the campaign against illegal drugs.
“I take this opportunity to urge you to do the same (as the Philippines). With political will and cooperation, we will dismantle the massive illegal drug trade apparatus,” he said.
“Drug trafficking has remained a major security concern in the ASEAN community. Worse, the region has become a major transshipment hub for illegal drugs by transnational organized crime groups to meet the demand of an increasingly growing international market for illegal drug,” he added.
Various counts estimate that as many as more than 12,000 lives — roughly a thousand a month — have been lost since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office a year ago promising a “bloody” war to rid the country of what he considers its main scourge, illegal drugs.
Alvarez said the AIFOCOM continues to be an important and central mechanism for cooperation among ASEAN nations in the fight against illegal drug use and trafficking.
“It gives us the opportunity to sit down and discuss — through meaningful dialogue and exchange of best practices — the prevention and elimination of the threat of illegal drugs,” he said.
“With a coordinated and united response, we will indeed realize our vision of a drug-free ASEAN community,” he added.