Data shows that 116 tons of shabu were seized in the region in 2018 which is a 210% increase compared with recorded seizures in 2013. UNODC also raised concerns about the increase of shabu production in the regions.
“Increased quantities of methamphetamine seizures and decreases in retail prices of the drug in East and South-East Asia suggest that the supply of the drug has expanded,” according to the statement of UNODC.
In the Philippines, the administration vows to launch a harsher war on illegal drugs, taking on what President Rodrigo Duterte previously said that illegal drugs are destroying the country. —Aileen Cerrudo
MANILA, Philippines – Declaring the Philippines as the next possible epicenter of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Southeast Asia is speculative, the government’s testing czar Vince Dizon said Thursday.
Dizon issued the statement in response to a report from Singapore-based The Straits Times which claimed that the Philippines could soon become the new virus epicenter in Southeast Asian region due to the continued increase in COVID-19 infections.
The Philippines on Thursday reported 3,561 additional infections, bringing the total number of cases to 119,460. Of the total number, 50,473 are active cases.
Dizon pointed out that the increase in the country’s coronavirus infections is only “normal” due to improved testing capacity and increased contact among the public following the relaxation of community quarantine measures to reopen the slumping economy.
“Speculative ‘yun pero ang masasabi ko, dumami na ang testing natin. Tayo na ang pinakamataas sa Southeast Asia sa testing per day. Nasa halos 1.7 million na ang nate-test natin sa buong bansa. Mahigit 1 million diyan ay nasa NCR (National Capital Region) lamang at tuluy-tuloy nating gagawin ito,” he said during a press briefing.
“Habang tayo ay nagtetest, talagang marami tayong makikitang positibo. Pero mas importante ‘yun kasi kung hindi natin sila mahahanap at hindi natin sila mai-isolate e lalong kakalat at lalong dadami ang magkakasakit,” he added.
The government has re-imposed stricter community quarantine measures over Metro Manila and nearby areas until August 18 in the hopes of arresting the rising cases of COVID-19.
The move follows the call of the medical community for a timeout to recuperate from the exhausting battle against the pandemic. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Southeast Asian counterparts at a meeting in Bangkok on Thursday (August 1) that the United States never asked Indo-Pacific nations to take sides.
Regional rivalry between the United States and an increasingly powerful China hangs over this week’s security meetings between foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and world powers.
“Look, we don’t ever ask any Indo-Pacific nations to choose between countries,” Pompeo said at the start of the meeting. “Our engagement in this region has not been and will not be a zero-sum exercise. Our interests simply naturally converge with yours to our mutual benefit,” he added.
The ASEAN 10-nation regional bloc consists of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Brunei, and Singapore. (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Taiwan’s national flags in Taipei, REUTERS/Pichi Chuang
TAIWAN – Taiwan’s lawmakers will vote next month on the economic immigration bill which seeks to allow citizenship to students and skilled workers from Southeast Asia.
This is the government’s measure to address a “severe brain drain” of homegrown talents to Beijing.
The bill is also expected to help Taiwan cope up with its shrinking manpower.
Once approved, the opportunity will be open to professionals of Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Specifically, skilled professionals would be eligible for permanent residency after working in Taiwan for three years; five years working experience, meanwhile, will be required from foreign professionals; and seven years working experience for mid-level technicians or skilled workers.
Also, foreign students who graduated and worked in Taiwan for five to seven years would be eligible to apply. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Amiel Pascual)
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