PDEA, BOC to beef up coordination vs. drug smuggling

MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) vowed to strengthen partnership to intensify the government’s campaign against smuggling of illegal drugs into the country.

This, as PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino met with newly-appointed Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on Tuesday to discuss efforts regarding the coordination of the two agencies in curbing the illegal drug menace.

In a statement sent to Philippine News Agency (PNA), Aquino proposed that PDEA and BOC conduct workshops, work plan schedules, regular inspections of goods, including the importation of controlled precursors and essential chemicals, to which Guerrero agreed.

Aquino also proposed the signing of an amended memorandum of agreement between the two agencies on the inclusion of the outputs from the proposed workshops.

“PDEA, as the lead agency in the national anti-drug campaign, continue to strengthen its relationship with its partners and counterparts for a more resolute, wide and all-encompassing effort to address the drug problem which is one of the most serious problems facing our country today,” Aquino said.

Also present during the meeting are PDEA OIC Deputy Director General for Administration and Chief of Staff Irish Calaguas and retired Maj. Gen. Raniel Ramiro of BOC’s Special Enforcement.

In his first flag-raising ceremony as Customs chief, Guerrero said fighting corruption and removing corrupt officials of the BOC will be his top priority.

He also vowed to implement reforms in the agency and to further enhance the performance of its personnel as public servants.

Guerrero also urged the public to report to authorities those who will use his name in any of the transactions in the agency so that he can appropriately deal with these unscrupulous individuals.

He noted that he will use his power and authority to be able to accomplish his mission, and asked Customs personnel to help him to do these tasks.

Guerrero replaced Isidro Lapeña, who was designated as the Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA-northboundasia.com