Forging greater cross-border cooperation across the Asian region
PNP at the 24th INTERPOL Asian Regional Conference in Abu Dhabi
For seven consecutive years, the Philippines has maintained its Tier 1 status in the United States’ annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, following the latest data released by the US Department of State on July 19, 2022. It is the highest classification status that can be given to any country or territory for its full compliance with the minimum standards in the fight against human trafficking.
Among the Southeast Asian countries, only the Philippines and Singapore are included in last year’s Tier 1 ranking. This simply connotes that the Philippine government is consistently parring excellence among other counterparts with its efforts in combatting all forms of trafficking and other related organized transnational crimes. Efforts along this line include the increasing number of successful rescues of human trafficking victims coming from across the globe compared to previous years; the drafting of standard operating procedures in the identification and monitoring of trafficking-related corruption cases; sentencing nearly all indicted traffickers to significant prison terms; and the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers.
The Philippine National Police takes pride in this notable accomplishment as the entire police force continues to boost the country’s capability in maintaining public safety and security, as well as in strengthening the country’s credibility in addressing crimes and in eliminating them, particularly, those transnational crimes like human and drug trafficking, terrorism, cybercrime, and the like.
Said significant accomplishments in the field of law enforcement were proudly presented by Chief PNP, General Rodolfo S. Azurin, Jr., during the 24th INTERPOL Asian Regional Conference held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates scheduled on February 6 to 11, 2023. He was accompanied by Police Major General Bernard M Banac, Director, Directorate for Plans; Police Major General Eliseo DC Cruz, Director, Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management; Police Major General Benjamin C. Acorda, Jr., Director, Directorate for Intelligence; Police Major General Emmanuel B. Peralta, Director, Directorate for Operations; Police Major General Jesus D. Cambay, Jr., Director, Directorate for Comptrollership; Police Major General Valeriano T. De Leon, Director, Directorate for Information and Communications Technology Management; together with Police Colonel Redrico A. Maranan, Acting Chief Public Information Office, Office of the Chief Philippine National Police, and Police Colonel Reynante B. Bastian, Chief, Fiscal Division, Directorate for Comptrollership.
Aside from its annual general assembly, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) also holds regular conferences in Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia to discuss common international issues, challenges, and threats relative to law enforcement, peace and order, and public safety and security which are widely experienced within the members’ respective countries and regions. INTERPOL’s aims are to come up with effective and efficient strategies and approaches to eliminate those crimes relative to the concerns mentioned above, and counter every possible threat and illegal activity through much more enhanced policing capabilities which are enriched by international collaborations.
The said conference was attended by police leaders from INTERPOL member countries across the Asian continent that consensually adopted numerous recommendations. Among those were: the greater engagement with the information and communications technology sector to better detect and disrupt human trafficking which are facilitated online; enhancing the use of INTERPOL’s tools and services; and the necessity to engage with civil society organizations to support the recovery and re-integration of trafficking victims. Also discussed in the forum was the strengthening of the INTERPOL Global Communications System, dubbed I-24/7, a global communications network that will help every national police organization to reach contact points around the globe to easily communicate with their counterparts relative to a range of information like photographs, fingerprints, video, and audio transmissions on the police investigation and other law enforcement activities.
The second day of the conference showed the Chief PNP presenting the report from the PNP Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) which revealed more or less 10 million Filipinos working overseas in at least 170 countries. With the given statistics, it became too obvious that the country is somehow experiencing labor trafficking, of household and or construction workers, particularly in middle eastern countries. To curb these crimes, PGen Azurin emphasized the strengthened collaboration of PNP WCPC with other government agencies through the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) which serves as the coordinating and monitoring mechanism for all anti-human trafficking efforts of the Philippine government.
General Azurin had a bilateral meeting with the United Arab Emirates officials led by Lieutenant Colonel Dana Almarzooqi, Director General-International Affairs Bureau and Deputy Director of INTERPOL NCB Abu Dhabi, to discuss crucial issues surrounding emerging criminal trends, such as money laundering, financial crimes, drug trafficking, and cybercrimes.
The UAE officials commended the interventions of PNP in dealing with cybercrimes and human trafficking, with the former offering to include PNP in training programs secured from other member states. The quarterly meetings between PNP and the UAE police were also recommended, as well as the creation of an International Investigation Affairs Bureau that will conduct investigations and operations for foreign offenders between the two countries.
“PNP is determined to make the Philippines a safer place for everyone, and our partnership with UAE will certainly bring us closer to this noble endeavor,” said General Azurin.
“I am grateful for the support and cooperation of our partners in UAE. We are confident that together, we can overcome the challenges posed by transnational crimes and create a safer future for our citizens,” he added.