CHICAGO (JGL) – The United States gave teeth to the fight of the Philippine government against human rights violators by providing $17.68 million in assistance to help also Manila enhance its law enforcement and maritime law enforcement capabilities and support justice sector reforms.
According to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., the assistance was based on Amendment 3 to the 2011 Letter of Agreement on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement that was signed by Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. and Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement William Brownfield at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25.
Ambassador Cuisia said the agreement also covers funding to help the Philippines strengthen its capacity to address extrajudicial killings and other human rights cases.
“As early as 2003, the Philippines and the US have been working together to strengthen the institutional capability in the area of narcotics control and law enforcement,” Ambassador Cuisia said, noting that the cooperation has expanded in the past decade to include combating trafficking in persons, child sex tourism and alleged extrajudicial killings.
“Both our countries perceive these challenges as common threats and we welcome the opportunity to work with the US Government to eliminate these threats that scourge our people,” Ambassador Cuisia added.
He said the funds will be used primarily to support the Global Security Contingency Fund Program (GSFP) to prepare the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Coast Guard to assume increased responsibility for combating terrorism and maintaining internal peace and security in the lands and waters of the southern Philippines.
He said the funds will also be used to support the Southeast Asia Maritime Initiative project to assist further development of operational and institutional capabilities of the Coast Guard and PNP Maritime Group.
The ambassador said the agreement will also cover funding for the Law Enforcement Support Project that seeks to help develop and institutionalize professional skills training within the PNP and other law enforcement entities as well as the Southeast Asia Regional Maritime Law Enforcement Development Project that seeks to strengthen regional coordination and law enforcement activities concerning maritime issues.
“This Agreement will once again prove to be good to both the Philippines and the United States and for the entire Southeast Asia,” said Assistant Secretary Brownfield. “With better enforcement and better ability of the Philippines to police its reefs, islands and other claims, the Agreement will be beneficial to the rest of the world.”
Also to be funded is the Justice Sector Reform Project that seeks to assist in institutional reform efforts aimed at strengthening the Philippine criminal justice system and provide professional skills training to the justice sector.
In addition, the ambassador said the agreement will provide funding for the Investigating, Prosecuting, and Preventing Extrajudicial Killings Project aimed at enhancing the country’s capacity to address extrajudicial killings and other human rights cases.
In 2013, the Department of State and the Department of Defense allocated $40 million for GSCF programs for the Philippines to support capability of the PNP and the Coast Guard in the areas of maritime security, counterterrorism and other law enforcement training.
In 2012, a total of $584,000 was allocated to support counter-narcotics interdiction and law enforcement at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Clark International Airport under Amendment 2 to the agreement.