MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte may visit China’s law enforcement and drug rehabilitation centers during his four-day state visit next week, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday.
”It’s not final yet but I think the purpose is for the President to see for himself how China is also addressing this drug problem,” DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said in a press briefing in Malacanang.
President Duterte’s own war on drugs was considered a “complete success’ in the first three months of his administration.
The strong campaign against illegal drugs has so far resulted in the surrender of over 700,000 drug dependents, arrest of more than 22,000 drug dependents, death of 1,566 drug suspects and seizure of Php8.2 billion worth of prohibited drugs.
”China is also assisting us as far as rehabilitation and law enforcement is concerned,” Jose said.
Jose said there had been five Filipinos executed in China for drug offenses.
The DFA official declined to comment if President Duterte would discuss with Chinese leaders reports that China was one of the sources of drugs being brought to the Philippines.
”I’m sure there are ongoing efforts between our PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) and their Chinese counterparts on how to address this very serious problem of ours,” Jose said.
Meanwhile, Jose said President Duterte was expected to discuss the issue of South China Sea territorial dispute.
”The bilateral relations between the Philippines and China are very expansive. So we expect that all areas of interest will be — expected to be discussed including the South China Sea,” Jose said.
In Beijing, President Duterte is scheduled to hold bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping and expected to meet separately with National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Following the meeting, President Duterte and President Xi are scheduled to witness the signing of a number of memoranda of understanding and agreement on various fields of cooperation between the two countries.
Jose said a joint statement will likewise be issued which will stress areas of cooperation.
”With this visit by President Duterte, the Philippines hopes to strengthen the bilateral ties between the Philippines and China through mutual respect and sincere cooperation for the prosperity and benefit of both countries and their peoples,” Jose said.
Jose said President Duterte would be in China from Oct. 18 to 21. The President will be flying to China from Brunei where he will also have separate state visit from Oct. 16 to 18. Jelly Musico/PNA-northboundasia.com