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The Dangerous Drugs Board is pleased to announce the election of Undersecretary Earl Saavedra as Chair of the Heads of Drug Law Enforcement Agencies for Asia and the Pacific (HONLEA) during its 43rd Session in Bangkok, Thailand.

HONLEA is a subsidiary body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which aims to enhance cooperation in drug law enforcement activities at the Asia and the Pacific Region. It is composed of twenty-five member-states with additional countries sitting as observers.

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As Chair of the body, Undersecretary Saavedra is expected to lead the discussions and ways forward on major supply reduction and drug law enforcement agenda such as regional and international cooperation to reduce illicit cultivation and production of drugs, alternative development, new modi operandi in trafficking and trends in concealment method and transport, effective investigative techniques and major regional drug trafficking trends and countermeasures.

Aside from Undersecretary Saavedra, Mohammad Masoud Zabetian, Head of the Anti-Narcotics Police of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saman Abeysinghe, Chairman of the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board of Sri Lanka were also elected as the Vice Chairpersons of the high-level body.

In his acceptance statement, Undersecretary Saavedra underscored the concept of shared responsibility in addressing the world drug problem. “It is our fervent hope that with the Chairmanship of HONLEA, we will be firm in our resolve to combat the scourge of drugs. We look forward to strengthen interdiction operations, precursor control, cooperation with foreign counterparts, exchange of information, provision of capacity building opportunities, sharing of best practices through bilateral, regional and international networking through mobility and advances in technology. The end goal is to effectively address the drug issues at all fronts”.

Meanwhile, DDB Chairman (Secretary) Catalino Cuy considers the HONLEA Chairmanship as a welcome development. “It is good to note that our international counterparts recognize the role of the Philippines in solving the world drug problem. Time and again, we have been emphasizing that the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy is a balanced, holistic and comprehensive approach that will institutionalize drug abuse prevention and control initiatives. We are more than eager to share our best practices and successes to other countries through the HONLEA platform”.

The HONLEA is currently holding its official session from 22 until 25 October 2019. Afterwards, Member-Countries are expected to carry out the commitments which were agreed upon for implementation in their respective States. The new leadership of HONLEA will ensure that targets and deliverables are met in accordance with the existing international drug control conventions and the ministerial declaration in countering the world drug problem.

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