MANILA, July 6 — Members of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) on Thursday adopted twin resolutions that will strengthen the bloc’s efforts to combat the drug menace in the region during the 13th meeting of the AIPA Fact Finding Committee (AIFOCOM) at Conrad Hotel, Pasay City.
AIPA members adopted twin resolutions, namely: “Resolution Transforming AIFOCOM into AIPA Council on Dangerous Drugs (AIPACODD) and Strengthening its Role and Mandate as a Parliamentary Tool to Combat Dangerous Drugs” and “Resolution on Forging Inclusive Partnership towards a Drug-Free ASEAN Community.”
The first of two resolutions aims to transform the AIFOCOM into an AIPA Advisory Council On Dangerous Drugs (AIPACODD) to strengthen its role and mandate as a parliamentary tool to combat dangerous drugs, while the second resolution highlights the urgency to forge inclusive partnership toward a drug-free Asean community.
The House leadership said the approval of the two resolutions is “imperative” in the wake of the alarming situation of drug abuse in the region, which has also become a transshipment hub for illegal drugs.
In a press conference, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, chairman of the 13th AIFOCOM Meeting, said the first resolution transforms the AIFOCOM into an advisory body to give it a “semblance of permanency in the ASEAN”.
The first resolution proposes the creation of a special desk in the AIPA Secretariat to facilitate legal and mutual cooperation, and the sharing of information and best practices among AIPA Member Parliaments, and to work on the recommendations to be adopted by the AIPACODD and the AIPA General Assembly to achieve a drug-free ASEAN community.
The second resolution, on the other hand, calls for an inclusive partnership toward a drug-free Asean community that recognizes the AIPA partnership’s need to have a more holistic approach to the drug problem.
Barbers said the scourge of illegal drugs in the region cannot be ignored, and a united stand must be implemented to help address drug trafficking and addiction.
The second resolution further recognizes the urgency to engage the support and cooperation not only of national governments and their law-enforcement agencies, but also of the private sector, the non-governmental and civil-society organizations, and local communities.
An inclusive partnership in the fight against the drug menace also means bolstering legal assistance among AIPA member-countries and strongly supporting the sharing of intelligence information, investigations and joint operations against illegal drugs.
The 10 member-countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (Filane Mikee Cervantes/PNA) – http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/999321