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PRESS RELEASE: #007/22

DATE: March 14, 2022

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Department of Tourism (DOT) have joined forces to intensify anti-drug efforts in areas of high influx of tourists and travelers.

In a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed today (Monday, March 14, 2022) by PDEA Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva, PNP Chief General Dionardo Carlos and DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, represented by Undersecretary Woodrow Maquiling Jr., at the PDEA National Headquarters, the three agencies vowed to prevent the proliferation of illegal drugs in tourist destinations and areas frequented by travelers.

“The MOA will establish the PDEA Tourism Operation Protection Against Illegal Drugs (PDEA TOP AID), which is a program intended to intensify anti-drug efforts in areas with high influx of tourists and travelers,’ said Villanueva.

The PDEA chief said tourist destinations have traditionally been targeted by drug trafficking groups, taking advantage of a ready market, particularly foreign travelers with expendable funds for leisure.

Among the key aims of PDEA TOP-AID is setting up of assistance and complaint desks geared toward drug trafficking concerns, increasing law enforcement visibility to deter potential violators, encouraging support from stakeholders in the tourism sector, and improving coordination between DOT and law enforcement personnel.

“We want to promote the Philippines as a tourism destination, hand in hand with the DOT, as this is good for bringing in much needed revenue and to create livelihood opportunities for our local communities, but we want to make it clear that recreational drug-tourism has no place in the Philippines”, Villanueva said, adding that the safety of inbound tourists while enjoying travel and our world-renowned hospitality, should always come first.

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