Taiwan denies Duterte claim it is a source of drugs

Paterno Esmaquel II
Taiwan denies Duterte claim it is a source of drugs
'Taiwan has never been the source of illegal drugs entering the Philippines,' says the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO)

MANILA, Philippines – Taiwan denied President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that it is a source of drugs in the Philippines, as in fact Taiwanese authorities have helped seize P3.2 billion ($62.8 million) in shabu, shabu laboratories, and related equipment.

“Taiwan has never been the source of illegal drugs entering the Philippines. Rather, Taiwan is the best partner for the Philippines to jointly combat against the illegal transnational drugs,” the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) said in a statement on Wednesday, September 27. 

TECO said it sent this statement in response to a Rappler article titled, “Duterte absolves China, blames Taiwan ‘triad’ for drugs.”

Duterte on Tuesday evening, September 26, said Taiwan is the new source of illegal drugs in the Philippines, as the Taiwan-based Bamboo triad has “taken over the operations” of the Chinese. 

To counter this claim, Taiwan said it has assisted the Philippines in anti-drug efforts over the past 3 years. 

In particular, Taiwan said it helped in confiscating or seizing more than 1,000 kilograms of shabu finished products, more than 8,000 kilograms of semi-finished products and raw materials, 3 shabu laboratories, one distribution station, and 6 shipments via sea and air.

Taiwan pegged the market value of these seizures at P3.2 billion.

In return for Taiwan’s contributions, Taiwan said, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have given their Taiwanese counterparts 10 plaques of appreciation “to express their gratitude.”

Taiwan’s representative in the Philippines, Dr Gary Song-Huann Lin, recently approached the Philippine Senate and other agencies “to clarify that Taiwan has never been the source of illegal drugs.”

Lin added that “according to the available PDEA statistics,” most of the drugs have been manufactured in the Philippines, not overseas. 

Then PDEA director Isidro Lapeña told ANC in February 2017 that 60% of the Philippines’ drug supply is locally made. “I will put it at 60%, and the rest are imported from other countries, especially coming from China,” Lapeña said. 

China was recently blamed for the smuggling of 604 kilos of shabu, worth P6.4 billion ($126 million), into the Philippines. –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at