A More Integrated Fight against Drugs and Crime

Article excerpt

(This statement by REP. ANTONIO V. CUENCO, chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Congress of the Republic of the Philippines, on Agenda Items 96 and 97 on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice and International Drug Control, was delivered at the 59th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, on October 11, 2004.)

EVEN as we gather here today, heinous crimes are being committed wantonly all over the world. We do not exaggerate when we say that, for many years now, the biggest, the most visible, the most cruel, and the most devastating phenomenon on earth has not been natural devastations like typhoons and earthquakes, nor poverty, nor environmental degradation, although these are serious problems in themselves.

The most fearsome tragedy in our life has been this rampaging criminality that has remained unabated and unchecked.

We have seen our land rage and tremble with all sorts of crimes of unbelievable wickedness and violence, from massacres to child rape to international terrorism so diabolical and inhuman.

We have seen heinous crimes proliferate everywhere in the streets and even in the innermost sanctums of our homes. There are bestial crimes, right and left, in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night; crimes against the poor and the rich; crimes against the young the old alike; not only by hoodlums but also by policemen; crimes by the powerful and crimes by the desperate; kidnappings beyond control, robberies without compunction, massacres most foul, and rape of daughters by their fathers and even mothers by their sons.

The linkages between crime, criminal justice, and the global effort on drug and substance control are well established. In this light, my statement today will cover both Agenda Items in 96 and 97.

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by Malaysia on behalf of ASEAN.

Allow me to join previous speakers that have expressed their confidence in you and your bureaus leadership of this Committee. You can count on my delegation to contribute constructively to our discussions on these important topics. I am certain that this debate, including the consultations on the various resolutions under Agenda Items 96 and 97, will bring about useful insights and practical lessons from which countries can benefit.

The expansion of networks of crime, spanning countries and regions around the world shows one of the dark shadows of globalization. The information and communications technology, travel, banking and financial systems that propel the globalization of economies and societies are the same ones used by criminal groups in order to internationalize their operations. Consequently, todays criminal groups are much more organized, adaptable, and sophisticated. They are also more complex as they usually involve themselves in a wide array of both illegal and legal activities. Criminal organizations are also eager about linking up with other criminal groups from other countries.

Transnational crime is clearly a threat to national and international security. Because it destabilizes the economic and financial foundations of society, transnational crime also undermines development, primarily efforts to eradicate poverty. Transnational crime also engenders human rights violations when vulnerable people are exploited for commercial gains.

Part of the Philippine governments vision of a strengthened republic is ensuring effective strategies for combating criminality, including transnational crime. In its effort to promote public safety in all aspects and ensuring internal security, the government has had much success in closely involving all levels of government, particularly those at the barangay or village level. More often than not, it is the vigilance of ordinary citizens that assist in winning the war against crimes such as kidnap-forransom, illegal drug trafficking of women and children, financial fraud and other illegal economic activities, and terrorism. …