PHL, Singapore agree to adopt tough approach vs illegal drugs

MANILA — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Singaporea Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have agreed to adopt tough approach against illegal drugs.

“The general consensus was both agreed that the methods that we have adopted, being tough in the fight against illegal drugs,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said in a press conference in Singapore.

“This toughness and the measures that we’ll be taken must be taken in the context of the urgent priorities and needs on the ground, as is relevant to our own situation,” he added.

Yasay said it was also the same approach that President Duterte and Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed upon during the Filipino leader’s state visit in Cambodia last Dec. 13 and 14.

“The methods that which we will be using in this fight against illegal drugs for as long as we remain committed to the rule of law and to ensure that the due process, rights, of everyone are respected will have the fullest cooperation,”Yasay said.

Yasay said President Duterte emphasized that his government’s tough approach “had somehow immediately resulted in a positive impact.”

Since President Duterte waged an all-out war against illegal drug six months ago, the Philippine National Police (PNP) had killed suspected drug personalities in legitimate police operations and visited over 5 million houses via Project Tokhang, resulting in the arrest of over 40,000 drug pushers and users.

The government’s tough campaign against illegal drug has also prompted more than 908,000 drug pushers and users to surrender to the authorities throughout the country.

“The syndicates operating in illicit drugs have I think to a great extent been minimized,” Yasay said.

Yasay said the Singaporean leaders vowed to continue to be tough against illegal drugs.

“That is the reason why they have also continue to make sure that anyone caught in the illicit drug trade with a minimum of certain amount of drugs will be subject to the death penalty,” he said.

In the Philippines, both the Senate and House of Representatives are still debating whether to revive the death penalty against heinous crimes and drug syndicates.

Both the Philippines and Singapore have agreed to share information and technical assistance in terms of law enforcement against illegal drug activities.

Aside from tough fight against illicit drug trades, the Philippines and Singapore have also agreed to pursue sharing of intelligence information in terms of the campaign against criminality and terrorism.

“The President had mentioned that in one occasion, our intelligence information showed that there was a Singaporean for instance that was actively involved in terroristic and other criminal activities,” Yasay said.

President Duterte is scheduled to arrive Friday night at the Davao International Airport from his two-day state visit in Singapore.