An empowered citizenry committed to rejecting the temptation of drugs is one of the most effective defenses against drugs, according to Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“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,” Binay said in his keynote speech at the 35th Meeting of the Asean Senior Officials on Drug Matters in Makati City (Metro Manila) on Tuesday.
“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,” the Vice President said.
Binay noted 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,” Binay added.
The Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns, he also noted that OFWs and those intending to find employment overseas have become prey to 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,” the Vice President 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 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.
Binay cited the government’s efforts to stop drug operations, 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 hydrochloride or shabu.