THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) signed Tuesday a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding their cooperation in the fight against illegal drugs.

PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña and AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año inked the MOA in a ceremony held at the AFP General Headquarters in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

"The MOA governs the two parties to synchronize efforts in establishing a national-level intelligence fusion center that will conduct intelligence and counter-intelligence build-up leading to the eventual arrest and conviction of big-time drug lords and suppression of sources of supply of dangerous drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs)," the joint statement between PDEA and AFP read.

PDEA shall take the lead role, or force employer in the national anti-drug campaign, while the AFP shall be the force provider, most especially in conflict-stricken areas, it said.

Lapeña and Año also agreed to conduct community relations geared towards the clearing of drug-affected barangays and maintain cooperation involving the exchange of trainings that deals on drug enforcement and intelligence courses, and preventive education and community involvement programs.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier removed the Philippine National Police as the lead agency in the war against illegal drugs after some of rogue policemen were dragged in the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo inside Camp Crame headquarters.

He tapped PDEA, with the help of the military, to be the lead agency in the campaign against the drug menace. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)