PHL seeks unity with Cambodia and Singapore in fight vs illegal drugs, 17 Dec. 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte arrived on Friday evening, December 16, from his successful back-to-back State Visits to Cambodia and Singapore, as he assured that the Philippines will further beef up its cooperation with the two countries in the fight against illegal drugs.

President Duterte arrived at the Davao International Airport at 11:50 pm Friday night.

In his arrival message, President Duterte said he had a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, wherein he said that they both recognized the “importance of working closely together to address the menace of the illegal drugs.”

Duterte also said he and the Cambodian leader discussed ways of strengthening cooperation against traditional and emerging transnational crimes.

President Duterte said the fight against illegal drugs was also emphasized in his meetings with Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“We also stressed the danger posed on our respective societies by the illicit drug trade that is now tearing our social fabric apart and depriving our youth of our countries of their future,” Duterte said.

“Our efforts to combat illegal drugs will be relentless and comprehensive. With the support and assistance of our friends and the Philippines’ new budget, we are on track towards realizing our envisioned holistic strategy to effectively address illegal drugs,” he added.

During his meeting with the Filipino community in Singapore, President Duterte assured the Filipinos that the country is now safer with the administration’s war against criminality and illicit drug trade.

“Tignan mo ang crime rate ngayon. Halos wala. Magtanong ka doon. Magtawag ka nga, Kakalakad na sila,” Duterte said in his message to thousands of Filipinos in Singapore on Friday. Dec. 16 at the Max Pavilion at the Singapore Expo.

“My campaign against drug will not stop until the end of my term,” he said, adding that the fight against criminality and illegal drugs and corruption will be relentless and sustained.

President Duterte also encouraged the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to be assertive and create a scene to confront corruption present in Philippine government agencies.

“Learn to be assertive. ‘Yang pine-pwersa mo ang iyong karapatan. Anyway, if you get my cue properly, when you are in the right, stand your ground,” the President said.

The President ended his address by thanking Filipinos in Singaporean “from the bottom of my heart” for contributing to the economy and urged them to stand up for their rights.

The Philippine Embassy said Duterte garnered 80 percent of the total votes cast in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Duterte assured the Philippines’ cooperation with its ASEAN neighbors in fighting terrorism.

“We will intensify exchanges and coordinate on the best practices and the lessons learned to enhance our capacities to address terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization,” Duterte said.

“We will also use the resources at our disposal – including modern technology – to rid our maritime areas of threats such as piracy, kidnapping, human trafficking and gunrunning,” he added.

The President also underscored that the Philippines is open for business and that the country seeks to intensified two-way trade and investments with its ASEAN neighbors, noting that Singapore is the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner.

President Duterte meanwhile confirmed that he sacked Bureau of Immigration officials who are involved in corrupt practices.

“I ran on a campaign of a clean government. I said before that corruption will have no place in my government. Now that I am President, I reaffirm this commitment,” Duterte said.

“Consistent with this electoral campaign, I have directed the dismissal of the two associate commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration who are now tainted with corruption. They will be held accountable for their actions. They will face the full force of the law,” he said.###PND