DFA intensify campaign against illegal drug traffickers

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An April 1, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has urged the conduct of a holistic, coordinated campaign against illegal drug smuggling syndicates in light of the carrying out of capital punishment on Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain last Wednesday in China.
Protection of overseas Filipinos should start at home, where the capacity of the Philippine Government to help them is at its highest.
The DFA urged in particular, a focused and coordinated campaign against illegal drug traffickers to be undertaken by Philippine law enforcement agencies, to be led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Closer coordination is also needed among PDEA, the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in running after international drug syndicates which have increasingly victimized Filipinos as drug couriers.
The DFA also called for the involvement of local government units, through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), in this campaign since a number of Filipinos who have been victimized as drug mules come from the provinces.
The above efforts should lead to a more aggressive apprehension and prosecution of international drug traffickers, particularly West African drug syndicates who are operating not only overseas but also within the country, with Filipino cohorts.
A stronger international police and legal cooperation with foreign drug enforcement agencies and the Interpol police network would be helpful.
Also, a sustained information and awareness campaign against the illegal drug use and trafficking menace will prevent the further victimization of Filipinos, building on the intense publicity generated by the recent carrying out of capital punishments in China.
Earlier, on 8 February 2010, upon the recommendation of the DFA, an inter-agency task force on drug couriers was created, with the PDEA as chair. This task force can be strengthened by including the DILG and the Department of Justice among its members.
The current members of the task force are the DFA, BI, BOC, PNP, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippine Information Agency, the Manila International Airport Authority, and the Philippine Tourism Authority.
Lastly, the DFA called for personal vigilance and responsibility on the part of Filipinos who travel overseas. They should not agree to carry any packages or luggage for strangers, even supposed friends or employers, or consent to carry packages in exchange for money. Our people can take fuller responsibility for their actions by always being on guard against such inducements.