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Stronger PH-China ties vs drugs urged

House leaders strongly urged the government yesterday to forge stronger a bilateral partnership with China in combating illegal drugs in the country.

Deputy Speakers Miro Quimbo and Eric Singson said it is about time for both countries to renew bilateral partnership to arrest the transnational problem of illegal drug trafficking.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea. Besides, the request now puts China’s sincerity to a test. Is their offer of friendship to the Duterte administration true or just for show?” Quimbo said after it was revealed that bulk of illegal drugs entering the country came from China.

“There is no harm even a government-to-government effort to stop this illegal trade. I think China is aware that many of their citizens were arrested operating shabu laboratories,” Singson said.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, president of the House party-list bloc coalition, proposed the setting up of an anti-drug council between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“I think we should take a step further by initiating the formation of ASEAN-China Anti-Drug Council. This is an area where China and ASEAN can positively cooperate and work together,” he said. “This will also start the thawing of the generally cold ASEAN-China relations brought about by the South China Sea controversy,” he said.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, who leads the “Legimate 8” bloc of the House of Representatives, said China could show its goodwill by giving in to Philippines’ request for assistance in combating illegal drugs.

“That could be a first talking point if PH wants to start bilateral meetings with China on the West Philippine Sea. Sort of a show of goodwill,” he said. (Charissa M. Luci)