CAAP, 7 agencies sign pact to prevent drug trafficking at airports
To stop drug trafficking and smuggling through the country’s airports, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) inked a deal on Monday with law enforcement agencies involved in the war against the narcotics trade.
In entering the memorandum of agreement for the creation of the Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (Airport-IADITG), the CAAP intends to seal off 82 airports, including 42 with commercial flight operations, under its control from illegal drugs.
According to CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio, only the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Clark International Airport (CRK) are currently engaged with anti-illegal drug task forces.
He said that under the Airport-IADITG, the CAAP will work closely with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Department of Transportation and Communications’ Office for Transportation Security (DOTC-OTS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup), as well as the Bureaus of Customs and Immigration.
Apolonio pointed out that the Airport-IADITG would be a collaboration among government agencies for the security and safety of all ports of entry against drug trafficking and other illegal activities.
“This will shut out illegal drug traffickers who may try to smuggle narcotics through our airports,” he said.
Among the country’s airports only five: the NAIA, the CRK, the Cebu-Mactan International Airport, the Subic International Airport, and the Poro Point International Airport, do not fall under CAAP authority.
Under the agreement the signatories commit to cooperate with each other and coordinate their efforts to control the entry and exit of illegal drugs, precursors and essential chemicals in the CAAP-controlled airports.
Signing for their respective agencies were: PDEA director general Arturo Cacdac Jr; CAAP director general William K Hotchkiss III; Roberto Villanueva of the DOTC-OTS; Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, lawyer Joel Tuvera of the NBI; and Avsegroup head Chief Supt. Pablo Francisco Balagtas.
Cooperation under the agreement will entail the assignment to the task group of dedicated personnel for the arrest and prosecution of drug offenders as well as the exchange and dissemination among participating agencies of gathered intelligence information and data pertaining to the illegal drug trade.