By Herman Tiu Laurel
THE usual information warfare material emanating from the Western mainstream media against the Philippines found print again in one of the Philippine mainstream media outlets. In its October 9, 2019 issue the Philippine Star published a report authored by Patricia Lourdes Viray entitled “China ignores Duterte’s drug war as the Philippines softens stand on the South China Sea” from the British publication The Economist’s sister business think tank, the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The report cannot be further from the truth. China and the Philippines are engaged in the most aggressive campaigns and cooperation to contain, if not eradicate, the illegal drugs menace not only from their own countries but from the rest of the globe in collaboration with multinational efforts across the world. But the Western Powers (and some mainstream Philippine media) never let facts interfere with the lies intended to disparage countries refusing to submit to their whims.
In 2017, the biggest 600-kg. drug seizure ever hauled in by the Philippine authorities was made possible by the tip-off from the Xiamen, China authorities to their counterparts in the Philippines. The Chinese claim was confirmed by the Philippines Bureau of Customs in a statement reporting it had acted on the intelligence from Chinese customs “to seize the drugs in Valenzuela City, 14 kilometers north of the country’s capital of Manila.”
China’s commitment to the Philippines to assist with all possible resources to fight the pestilence of illegal drugs is depicted clearly in the report of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Foreign Service Institute (FSI) think tank Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) report by Jeremey Dester B. Mirasol in May 2017 citing President Duterte’s statement at that time: “China is the only country to come out freely and [sic] a firm statement that they are supporting the fight against drugs in my country.”
China has constructed four mega drug rehabilitation and treatment centers two in Luzon and one each in the Visayas and Mindanao. China has extended RMB100 million (₱714.57M) grants to implement projects for anti-illegal drugs and law enforcement security cooperation. In President Duterte’s four-day state visit to China in October 2016, one of the bilateral agreements signed was the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Protocol on Cooperation between the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of China.
The Philippines and China recognized that the problem of illicit drugs poses thus, the MOU stipulated enhancing of exchange of intelligence, know-how, and technology in the fight against drug crimes, conducting preventive education, and setting up rehabilitation facilities. Both agreed to establish a mechanism for joint investigation on special cases and intelligence collection purposes. The Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the PDEA agreed to share information and technology with the Fujian Provincial Drug Enforcement Agency,
In the area of maritime cooperation, both the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the China Coast Guard (CCG) agreed to implement the MOU on the establishment of a Joint Coast Guard Committee on Maritime Cooperation and to cooperate in preventing and combating drug trafficking and other transnational crimes. Through 2017 to the present, and which each meeting of President Duterte and President Xi Jinping, many more projects in pursuit of these objectives have been achieved.
In the most recent meeting of the two presidents last August 2019 the Bureau of Customs (BoC) inked an implementation agreement with China’s Ministry of Commerce regarding the latter’s donation of four mobile X-ray container vehicle inspection systems and two luggage inspection systems to the Philippines. These, of course, will be a major boost to the Philippines ' ability to intercept illegal drugs shipped into the country from all sources in the world.
So, how can the Economist Intelligence Unit of Britain even think that China is ignoring Duterte’s drug war and link it to whatever stand President Duterte has on the South China Sea. China’s commitment to supporting President Dutere’s anti-illegal drugs crusade had never been conditional on development in the South China Sea situation. No one can cite even a single phrase that China has ever uttered or published linking the two matters. The EIU is shamefully distorting the story, and Philippine Star likewise for not checking the facts first before highlighting the EIU report.
The record of the British, on the other hand, is something Filipinos should be reminded of, not only was it the worse drug pusher in human history that flooded China with opium triggering the Opium Wars, but it also pushed China into its Century of Humiliation that China will never allow to happen again. The Philippines as a hub of the Opium Trade taking investments from Manila in the trade while British and U.S. companies like Jardine, Matheson, and Co. or Mackintosh & Co. benefitted. There are several scholarly studies on these available.
What the Western countries are really doing to the World’s anti-illegal drug efforts is obstruct the sincere and genuine initiatives of many countries, including the Philippines. In the latest case of these Western countries taking the lead to impeding the Philippines’ anti-illegal drug efforts is the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution calling for an investigation of so-called summary killings linked to President Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs war and so-called “worsening human rights situation”.
Britain was one of the major countries that pushed for this investigation call, and this UNHRC decision led to President Duterte’s instruction to the finance department to suspend all negotiations or signing of loan and grant agreements with countries with voted in favor of the UNHRC resolution. This is the plain truth about Britain and its Western brothers, such as the U.S., real motive in linking the illegal drugs fight to human rights issues, to disrupt such urgent campaigns to cleanse societies of this scourge.
President Duterte is indeed on the right path in rejecting the feigned goodwill of such countries that harbor the hidden agenda of disrupting genuine efforts at containing and dismantling the illegal drug trade while hypocritically raising the human rights crusade flag. China does not do this, it is active both materially and politically in extending assistance to the Philippines to stop the drugs scourge shoulder-to-shoulder with the Philippines.
(Herman Tiu Laurel is the founder of economic alliance Phil-BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa] Strategic Studies)