PH, Mexico join forces vs illegal drugs

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THE Philippines and Mexico have forged an agreement that will strengthen the two countries’ campaign against the proliferation of illegal drugs, a move that is seen to greatly favor Manila in the light of the reported operation of the notorious Siniloa drug cartel locally.

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In ceremonies held in Malacañang during Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s state visit, two other major agreements were signed — on the avoidance of double taxation and on tourism cooperation.

“This is a clear sign of the political will of the government of the Philippines to give a new level to the relations between Mexico and the Philippines. That means a new relationship at a different level for the benefit of both our nations,” said the Mexican leader.

“In the area of security, we will exchange best practices and will share information to jointly fight the scourge of drug dealing,” Nieto stressed.

The Siniloa drug syndicate was reported to have linked up with Chinese-Filipino drug traffickers following a raid in a ranch in Lipa City on December 25, 2013.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd welcomed the newly-signed pacts, claiming that these will enhance the decades-old partnership between the two states.

“We will target our efforts to promote reciprocal investments, and that will contribute to the creation of more jobs in our countries. This way, we will create the Mexico and the Philippines Action Plan and that would be the roadmap to strengthen our relationship.

With this new institutional scaffolding, we will find new collaboration and exchange opportunities. The Philippines and Mexico are both stable, strong and dynamic nations with solid economies and a great potential for the future,” Nieto said.

This is the first state visit by a Mexican president in more than half a century, the last being in 1962.

“Today, we have undersigned several agreements in the area of the economy. We have undersigned an agreement to avoid double taxation and, by this, enable trade and financial activities between our countries. In the area of terrorism, we will consolidate more cooperation in areas like R&D, education, training, and also in trade promotion and investment,” Nieto further stressed.

Existing pacts between the two countries include the air services agreement that dates back to 1952.

“This is a good opportunity to update and have a more modern agreement; the reciprocal, the promotion and protection of investments, and this as well will enable more investment between our nations; and the creation of a joint economic committee, specifically, to define the roadmap for the future,” Nieto said.

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