Pimentel sees EDCA to boost PHL campaign versus illegal drugs

April 30, 2014 6:06 am 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, April 29 (PNA) – Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III on Tuesday said the recently-signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) betweeen the Philippines and the United States will strengthen the country’s fight against illegal drugs.

“This would boost our drive against illegal drugs; we’ve been alarmed by the increasing presence of foreign nationals that have established their operation in the Philippines,” Pimentel said.

“This has to be stopped, because illegal drugs not only destroy the future of our youths but they destroy the social fabric and lead to a host of other criminal acts,” he added.

Pimentel welcomed the statement of US President Barack Obama that the 10-year pact signed by National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg is not limited to “issues of maritime security.”

During his state visit last Monday, Obama said the EDCA also covers assistance to the Philippines’ disaster response as well as “additional threats that may arise that we are able to work in a cooperative fashion.”

Pimentel said the worsening problem in drug trafficking could now be properly addressed with the aid of hi-tech US surveillance equipment and the use of fast crafts and airborne superiority to track down and catch the drug traffickers while in transit.

He said further that the increased presence of US troops in Asia would be a strong disincentive against a possible flashpoint in the West Philippine Sea region marred by a dispute over coral outposts believed to be rich in gas and oil resources.

Pimentel also said the agreement is a strong deterrent against provocative or hostile acts in the West Philippine Sea.

”The EDCA would help ensure the enforcement of international law in the region,” Pimentel said.

”The pact covers a full range of defense cooperation and increased rotational presence of US troops, which would particularly enhance regional collective responsibility in controlling transnational crimes such as illegal drugs and human trafficking, among others,” the lawmaker added. (PNA)



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