BEIJING, China—Despite some of their own citizens’ involvement in the smuggling and operations of illegal drugs in the Philippines, Chinese anti-narcotics officials have renewed China’s commitment to help the country combat transnational crimes, including drug trafficking.
Officials of China’s Ministry of Public Service Anti-Drug Department told visiting foreign journalists that both the Chinese and the Philippine government have agreed to boost exchange of intelligence, know-how and technology-sharing in fighting against drug-induced crimes, preventive education and rehabilitation during President Duterte’s state visit to China last year.
To further strengthen the efforts to fight against illicit drugs, China and the Philippines had agreed to establish operation mechanism for joint investigation on special cases and intelligence collection purposes.
Chinese drug officials also said they are willing to train anti-narcotics operatives from the Philippines on the innovative mechanism to reduce drug recourse, including mechanism on drug interruption.
They said that illegal drugs are not only found in the railways, airways and buses, but also online.
So far, 400 Chinese websites have signed up with the Chinese government in the fight against illegal drugs with focus on propagating a significant decline in drug transactions or to totally prevent illegal drug activities.
The Drug Control in China 2017 report showed that 5,459 drug trafficking groups were totally eliminated in China the previous year.
Chinese narcotics officials admitted that the situation of online drug-related cases in their country has remained grim as evidenced by the rampant ordering and selling of illegal drugs via the internet, disseminating process, exchanging experience of drug abuse and payment and transfer of drug-related money, among others.
Additionally, the report indicated that drug manufacturing activities in China are brisk.
In 2016, 583 drug manufacturing cases were uncovered and 438 drug clan labs were destroyed. This included 338 shabu laboratories and 93 ketamine laboratories Approximately, 62 tons of homemade drugs were seized, taking up 74.5 percent in the total of drugs confiscated. They said that the Chinese government attaches great importance on drug control led by the State Council in the Central government.
They acknowledged, however, that the anti-drug activity needs the participation of the entire community aside from the drug preventive education activities.
The Chinese drug officials also cited the need to deepen comprehensive governance to solve the serious drug problems in a community and promote legislation to perfect the drug control mechanism. They said that so far, China has sent to the Philippines 100 sets of portable drug kits and 10 spectometer as part of their assistance to help the country in drug detection, seizure, and testing equipment to aid in the fight against illicit drugs.
They added that they were aware that the Chinese government had pledged to to build drug rehabilitation centers in southern Philippimes, but said that they were not privy to the details.
The Philippine’s Department of Finance, however, said China is providing the country a grant of $15 million (13.7 million euros), which will be used for drug rehabilitation and law enforcement.
It said that the funds will be equally divided between the Department of Health (DOH) for the construction of drug rehabilitation centers and various law enforcement agencies for the procurement of police equipment.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said their “share” will be allocated for the construction of two rehabilitation facilities in the southern Philippines. She added that the grant may also be used for technical exchange and training programs, as well as information and education programs.
At present, the Philippines has 48 drug rehabilitation facilities nationwide and only about 50 medical personnel who are trained in addiction medicine.
In November, the government opened the country’s first “mega drug rehabilitation center” at a military camp in Nueva Ecija located north of Manila. The center, which can reportedly accommodate 10,000 patients, was funded by a Chinese real estate billionaire who once lived in Manila.
The insufficient number of rehabilitation centers in the country was highlighted after more than 600,000 drug users yielded to authorities in less than two months since Duterte assumed office.
The Chinese people’s involvement and links to the biggest drug operations in the country, which President Rodrigo Duterte declared as his greatest scourge, has not dissuaded the Chief Executive from cozying up to Beijing.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has earlier summoned Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua to discuss the drug crisis in the country and seek assistance to end it.
The President and the police have said majority of the drug syndicates operating in the Philippines are headed by Chinese drug lords.