The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) both expressed their commitment to strengthening an inter-agency partnership to better tackle the issue of drugs being smuggled into the country.
One previous collaboration between the two agencies and the Philippine National Police (PNP) led to the seizure of a shabu shipment worth P3.4 B at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) in August this year.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino and newly-appointed Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero met on Tuesday to discuss possible joint efforts to lessen the menace of illegal drugs. A statement from Aquino declared that PDEA and BOC are looking into coordinated workshops and regular goods inspections. The importation of controlled precursors and essential chemicals to the drug manufacturing process will also be more stringently monitored.
Also present during Tuesday’s meeting were PDEA OIC Deputy Director General for Administration and Chief of Staff Irish Calaguas and retired Maj. Gen. Raniel Ramiro of BOC’s Special Enforcement.
According to Aquino, its been proposed that the two agencies sign an amended memorandum of agreement to include the outputs of the proposed workshops.
“PDEA, as the lead agency in the national anti-drug campaign, continue to strengthen its relationship with its partners and counterparts for a more resolute, wide and all-encompassing effort to address the drug problem which is one of the most serious problems facing our country today,” Aquino said.
The coordination would strengthen the PDEA’s capacities to pursue their mandate and curb the prevalence of illegal drugs by allowing the agency to intercept substances as they enter the country.
BOC chief Guerrero was appointed following a drug smuggling scandal which involved customs officials themselves. He replaced Isidro Lapeña. During his first flag-raising ceremony following his appointment, he expressed that fighting corruption and purging the agency of corrupt officials is among his top priorities. He also said he’d be implementing reforms to the BOC in order to its performance in public service.