MANILA -- Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron N. Aquino led the Philippine delegation in a two-week training course on an international cooperation program in China that would help address key challenges on the evolving drug scene and strengthen the two countries’ cross-border intelligence and investigation.

“On behalf of our people, we offer our sincerest gratitude to the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Public Security for inviting PDEA to participate in this training.

Indeed, the cooperation and understanding among our nations, more specifically between our law enforcement agencies, is a fundamental necessity to build and achieve things together for our countries,” Aquino said in his speech during the Training Course on Law Enforcement on Oct. 14 to 28 in Fuzhou City, Fujian province in China.

PDEA and the Narcotics Control Bureau of China’s Ministry of Public Security signed a Protocol on Cooperation on Oct. 20, 2016 in Beijing, which will be effective for five years, to effectively suppress and control drug crimes between the two nations.

The agreement has paved the way for a series of bilateral meetings, joint trainings on drug law enforcement and customs control and shared investigations on drug trafficking and abuse. Among the training exercises completed were in different key cities of China such as Yunan province, Guandong province, Hangzhou City, Beijing and Shanghai.

“The drug menace is a lingering problem that is transnational in character and global in scope. For this reason, the Philippines and PRC have pledged to work together to liberate their territories from the bondage of illegal drugs,” Aquino said.

Recently, PDEA also participated in a bilateral meeting with Liang Yun, executive secretary general and director general of the Office of National Narcotics Control Commission (ONNCC) in Vienna, Austria.

China is also expected to donate two sets of Liquid Mass Combination Instrument to PDEA’s Laboratory Service to augment its forensic examination capabilities.

Aquino said PDEA, being a recipient of donated equipment and free trainings, are more than grateful for the generosity and support of the Chinese government in the agency’s crusade against the use and proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

“We cannot do the fight alone. The drug cartels and syndicated drug organizations have massive resources and funding – enabling them to easily move their illicit products from one point to another in our region. We need all the support we can gather from our neighboring countries, particularly in terms of cross-border law enforcement and customs control,” he said.

“Rest assured that our government, through the PDEA, will always cooperate and extend diplomatic protocols to the People’s Republic of China in all aspects of drug law enforcement. We remain hopeful that our mutual understanding and cooperation will continue until we achieve our mission to stop the illegal drug trade in our respective borders,” the PDEA chief added.

The history between Manila and Beijing on cooperation against illicit trafficking and abuse of psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals dates back to 2001. (PNA)