VICE President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo on Wednesday, November 13, met with United States officials to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in the fight against illegal drugs.
Robredo, who now serves as co-chairperson of the government’s Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad), asked to be briefed on US assistance focused on the campaign against illegal drugs.
In a statement, the US Embassy in the Philippines said an inter-agency delegation met with Robredo. The delegation was composed of representatives from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of State, and United States Agency for International Development.
The US officials gave Robredo a briefing on US-Philippines counter-narcotics cooperation and potential US-funded programs that are intended to assist the Philippine government’s efforts in drug demand reduction.
Robredo, for her part, said the discussion was “comprehensive.”
“Lahat sila ay nagbahagi ng kanilang mga programa rito sa Pilipinas na kaugnay sa kampanya laban sa iligal na droga. Napag-usapan din ang mga kakulangan sa kasalukuyang kampanya at ang mga tulong na maaari pa nilang maibigay para lalong paigtingin ang kampanya laban sa droga,” she said.
“Kabilang dito ang pagkakaroon ng malinaw na baseline data tungkol sa sitwasyon ng droga sa bansa, pag-aralan ang mga maaaring pag-amyenda sa Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act para tiyaking angkop pa rin ito sa ating kasalukuyang pangangailangan, at ang pagpapalakas ng mga programa para sa drug use prevention at community-based drug rehabilitation,” Robredo added.
Robredo said there has been constant coordination with the US Embassy in the Philippines and her office on various projects and she was delighted they immediately set the meeting following her appointment to Icad.
“Ipinahiwatig nila ang kanilang buong suporta at kooperasyon sa ating kampanya laban sa iligal na droga,” she said.
“At, bilang kaibigan ng Pilipinas, gagawin nila ang lahat para tayo ay magtagumpay sa laban na ito,” Robredo added.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa refused to comment on the possible role that the US will take in the war on drugs after the meeting with Robredo.
"Tomorrow, we will be having a meeting with her sa law enforcement cluster. So I don't want to preempt anything there. Kung ano man 'yung actions niya then let it be but I have things in mind to tell her tomorrow," Gamboa said.
Gamboa also pointed out that the Philippines already has an anti-drug strategy that is being implemented since October 2018.
"It just did not come from thin air. This has been studied, this has been thoroughly researched kaya nag-come up sila ng ganoong strategy and remember this strategy is primarily being supervised and monitored by the Dangerous Drugs Board," he added. (SunStar Philippines)