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US narcotics agency vows to support Duterte's war against drugs

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in the United States has vowed to support the Philippine government's anti-illegal drugs campaign.

"We are aware that the police are continuing the resumption of their operations. Many folks have been tracking the EJKs (extrajudicial killings) and the Philippines. There are some encouragement that were seen, some of our human rights training, working and so I would describe United States being consciously optimistic in the... when it comes to a good, appropriate way of drug campaign," Deputy Assistant James Walsh said in a telephonic press briefing on Tuesday evening.

"And so we'll just monitor that and we continue supporting the government of the Philippines with our rule of law, our demand reduction programs and our maritime assistance," Walsh added.

The bureau develops and implements law enforcement, rule of law, and counter-narcotics policies and programming in accordance with US foreign policy objectives throughout Europe and all of Asia.

Walsh said he has been monitoring the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte since it started two years ago.

"I've been personally tracking the drug campaign in the Philippines ever since President Duterte launched his drug war. As a matter of fact I met with Chief Dela Rosa (Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa) over a year ago when the campaign was starting," Walsh said.

Meanwhile, when asked if the Philippines' drug campaign has limited the entry of supply of illegal drugs into the country, Walsh answered in the negative.

"The world hasn't been successful when it comes to tackling the supply. We're never gonna get rid of the supply of illicit drugs," he said.

Walsh issued the statement a day after a modified version of Oplan Tokhang, the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the PNP, was re-implemented on Monday.

The program was stopped last year after it was linked to a number of drug-related deaths and police abuse. 

Meanwhile, Walsh also emphasized that the issues related to illegal drugs are part of a "global problem."

"To tackle this, we have to have a good drug global policy. That policy includes addressing it from the demand and supply side," Walsh said. — BAP, GMA News