1 October 2003

UNOV Director-General Meets Minister of Justice of the Philippines

VIENNA, 1 October (UN Information Service) - The Minister for Justice of the Philippines, H.E. Mr. Simeon A. Datumanong met today with Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General, United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) and Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Mr. Datumanong is in Vienna to attend the last session of the ad-hoc committee negotiating the UN Convention against Corruption.

They discussed the sub-regional counter-narcotic cooperation in East Asia and the activities of the UNODC Regional Centre in Bangkok. The centre serves as a coordinator, organizer and facilitator in regional cooperation against drugs and crime. The importance of strengthening law enforcement coordination in the region within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was emphasized.

Currently, UNODC programme activities in the Philippines include an ongoing project titled "The Expansion of Computer Based Drug Law Enforcement Training in East Asia". The project is aimed at enhancing the government's capacity to develop training programmes to counter drug trafficking and related cross-border organized criminal activities. Minister Datumanong expressed strong support for a new joint project aimed at providing support for victims/witnesses of trafficking in human beings in the Philippines, which is in the process of being approved.

The Philippines are covered with four projects within the UNODC Regional Action Plan. These include the demand reduction aspects of Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) abuse in East Asia; curtailing diversion and trafficking in precursors in order to reduce manufacture of heroin and ATS in East Asia; coordination and cooperation between law enforcement and regulatory agencies to meet the principles of counter-narcotic treaties; and development of the institutional capacity to address money laundering at the national, regional and international level.

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