The United States is providing the Philippines P102 million to support the government's drug rehabilitation programs despite policy differences with Manila over the Duterte administration's bloody illegal narcotics crackdown.
These funds, the US Embassy said, will assist Philippine initiatives to develop drug reduction programs focused on public health and community-based interventions.
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and US Ambassador Sung Kim signed on Friday an amended Letter of Agreement on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement that would enable Washington to collaborate with Philippine authorities to reduce the demand for illegal drugs.
“This...will expand our cooperation and efforts to deal with a very, very serious problem here," Kim said. "It will allow us to better support important initiatives such as national and community-based programs and prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation."
Additional funding will come from the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law.
Duterte's deadly on war on drugs sparked concerns from the State Department last year, causing him to resort to invectives-laden verbal attacks against the agency and then US President Barack Obama, who he once asked to "go to hell."
The signing of the amendment agreement, the embassy noted, marks "a new step" in the U.S.-Philippines partnership.
Both countries, it said, share concerns about the dangers posed by substance abuse disorder and this latest collaboration reflects a mutual interest in improving efforts to limit the effects of illicit drugs.
The first letter of agreement on narcotics control between the Philippines and the US was signed in 2011.—NB, GMA News