THE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is grateful for the efforts of dialogue partners to combat the illegal drug problem in the region as the bloc recognized that it was affecting not only member-states but also other countries outside the region.
This was the reason why Asean leaders welcomed the assistance of their dialogue partners in addressing this problem, said President Rodrigo Duterte.
The President made the remark, in his 28-page Chairman’s statement summarizing the outcome of the 31st Asean Summit and Related Summits, being the head of this year’s Asean conference from November 13 to 14.
The 10-member Asean bloc held separate summits with its dialog partners Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, United States, European Union (EU), and United Nations (UN).
The dialogue partners expressed their commitment to help Asean combat illegal drugs through capacity-building, intelligence information sharing, and other forms of cooperation consistent with relevant international laws and all the while preserving the sovereign right of countries in deciding the most appropriate approaches to address their national drug situations.
During the Asean Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters (AMMD), Duterte said, “We reaffirmed our commitment to an aspiration of a Drug-Free Asean and, in this regard, welcomed the progress in the implementation of the Asean Work Plan on Securing Communities Against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025.”
“We welcomed the adoption of the Asean Cooperation Plan to Tackle Illicit Drug Production and Trafficking in the Golden Triangle 2017-2019, charting the region’s actions for the next two years in tackling the drug problem in that area,” he said.
The President also commended “the good work” of the Asean Narcotics Cooperation Center (Asean Narco) in publishing the second series of the region’s drug report, the Asean Drug Monitoring Report 2016, incorporating the drug trends and drug problem in the region in 2016.
“We acknowledged the continuing efforts of the Asean-Narco, the Asean Airport Interdiction Task Force and the Asean Seaport Interdiction Task Force in strengthening Asean cooperation, especially on information sharing and intelligence exchange as well as capacity building among our drug control and law enforcement agencies at border checkpoints in the region,” he added. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO