MANILA, Sept 28 (Mabuhay) — Taiwan on Wednesday asked the Philippine government to provide information and evidence on the alleged Taiwanese drug cartel referred to by President Rodrigo Duterte as the major supplier of illegal narcotics in the country.
Taking note of Duterte’s statement, Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines Gary Song-Huann Lin said he has already “requested our related agencies in Taipei to look into and investigate this matter.”
“We also urged the Philippines to provide information and evidence through mutual legal assistance mechanisms and channels, through these information and evidence,” Lin said in a statement.
Lin said Taiwan was committed to strengthen its anti-drug cooperation with the Philippines.
Taiwan has no formal diplomatic relations with the Philippines in deference to the One-China Policy, which prevents countries from recognizing the self-ruling democratic island as a state. It is represented in the Philippines by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO).
In his speech on Tuesday night at the 120th anniversary of the Department of Justice, Duterte blamed a so-called Taiwan-based 14K Bamboo triad for supplying illegal drugs into the country.
Duterte made the claim even after Philippine authorities recently intercepted a P6.4-billion drug shipment from China to Manila early this year.
The drug syndicate, according to Duterte, cooks methamphetamine in the high seas and uses the Philippines as a transshipment point.
Lin denied that Taiwan is the source of drugs in the Philippines.
“Taiwan do not export drugs to this country,” Lin said.
The Taiwanese official cited data by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency stating that 50.7 per cent of the drugs seized in 2015 were manufactured in the Philippines, with only 8.75 per cent were smuggled from foreign countries while the remaining drugs cannot be traced.
“Between 2011 and 2015, the Philippines apprehended 61,303 drug suspects, only 112 were foreigners, and only 0.04% or 24 were Taiwanese,” Lin said.
Several personalities, including the son of Duterte, Davao Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, have been linked to the illegal shipment from China and other alleged drug smuggling activities – an accusation denied by Paolo.
Some lawmakers critical of Duterte, whose war on drugs has claimed thousands of lives, questioned how the shipment cleared China’s Customs.
China branded these speculations as “false reports.” Its embassy in Manila stated that its anti-narcotics cooperation with the Philippines has always been on a “good track” and stressed that China’s customs was the one that tipped off Filipino authorities on the P6.4-billion drug shipment.
Such accusations, China warned, would have a “negative affect” on deepening cooperation between the two countries on drug control. (MNS)