Speaker Alvarez urges Asean: Join Duterte in war vs drugs
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday addressed fellow Asean lawmakers and urged member states of the region to join President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war against illegal drugs.
Alvarez made the call in his remarks at the opening of the 13th meeting of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Fact Finding Committee (Aifocom) to Combat the Drug Menace, held at Conrad Hotel in Pasay City on Wednesday.
Alvarez is the incumbent president of AIPA. The Aifocom was held in the Philippines which chairs this year’s Asean summit.
“We stand firmly with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the war against illegal drugs. He has called on the leaders of Asean Member States during the 30th Asean Summit to join him in this campaign,” said Alvarez, the President’s bosom buddy and staunch ally in Congress.
“I take this opportunity to urge you to do the same. With political will and cooperation, we will dismantle the massive illegal drug trade apparatus,” he added.
Alvarez said drug trafficking is a major security concern in the Asean, especially because the region is being used as a transshipment hub for illegal drugs by transnational organized crime groups.
“We cannot ignore the impact of drug use on society—especially to the family and the youth. Financial difficulties are just some of the challenges a family may face. We simply cannot stand idly by as our region succumbs to the debilitating effects of illegal drugs,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez lauded the Asean community for adopting the Asean Work Plan on Securing Communities against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025, and for including among its aspirations a drug-free Asean in the Asean Political-Security Community (APSC) Blueprint 2025.
“As legislators, we support this vision by introducing measures that could strengthen mechanisms to stop the production, trafficking, and abuse of illicit drugs in our countries,” Alvarez said.
He urged his fellow legislators to introduce measures to curb the trafficking and abuse of drugs in the region — by enhancing cooperation in between the law enforcement and the criminal justice system, raising awareness among sectors of society especially the youth, and engaging local communities, schools and the media to support a drug-free Asean.
Alvarez also appointed as chairman of the 13th Aifocom Meeting Surigao Del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, who also chairs the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs.
Barbers on Monday said the Asean delegation would highlight the “success story” of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, which had been heavily criticized on the international fora over the thousands of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects by police and vigilante groups.
He also said it is up to the Asean member states to replicate the success story of the brutal narcotics crackdown, adding that the delegation would not highlight the alleged human rights violations.
“Of course, what we will tell other countries is the success story of our campaign,” Barbers said in a Monday briefing. “We will not speak of human rights violations here because it is not our job to speak about that.”
“Let me emphasize that what we can show to them as a host country for this particular conference is that we want to show them the achievements of the anti-drug campaign of these administration,” he added. JE
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