Agencies act to spare Clark vs drugs, human trafficking-A A +A
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
CLARK FREEPORT -- Government agencies have joined hands to prevent criminal syndicates from using Clark International Airport as transitory area for human trafficking and transshipment point for illegal drugs.
The first memorandum of agreement was forged between the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) and the Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (IADITG) to prevent the entry of drugs into the country.
The Inter-Agency Council against Human Trafficking (Iacat) also forged an agreement with CIAC to stop the entry and exit of human trafficking victims in Clark.
Officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and other agencies participated in the agreement signing held at the Clark airport passenger terminal yesterday.
PDEA Assistant Secretary Abe Lemos said this government initiative will show the international community the cooperation of Philippine government agencies to combat illegal drugs and human trafficking.
"This will show the international community our cooperation and strong stand that we are serious in addressing this transnational crime of illegal drugs and human trafficking," Lemos said.
Since 2003 to August 2014, joint efforts of law enforcers had seized a total of 138,172 grams of shabu worth more than P1 billion; 14,890.91 grams of cocaine worth P71,052,025; 10,438 pieces of Ecstasy worth P12,532,475; and 29.90 grams of Fly High worth P113,636, according to Lemos.
He said that these seizures of illegal drugs through airport interdiction operations from 2003 up to present gave an estimated total value of more than P1 billion.
"With this agreement, we will create a formidable task group which will effectively synchronize anti-illegal drugs efforts to prevent Clark airport from being exploited as entry and exit points for drugs," Lemos said.
CIAC president and CEO Victor Jose Luciano described the MOA signing as a momentous event.
"I would like to commend and congratulate our partner agencies involved in the signing, and thank you for your continued support as we fight the entry of illegal drugs and prevent trafficking," Luciano said.
He said that Clark is now an active international gateway of the country as the government pushes for a stronger drive to promote tourism and the 10 million overseas visitors expected in the next two to three years.
“The gateway airports such as Manila Airport, Mactan Airport, and Clark Airport are the key to be able to harness our agencies to fight all these criminal elements, we in Clark pledge and promise that we shall be unrelenting in these efforts to work with you closely to make sure our country is safe and our people,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 28, 2014.