By Mario Casayuran
Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate economic affairs, said Tuesday the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines underscores the deepening ties and broadening cooperation between the Philippines and China.
‘’I expect that President Duterte will take advantage of President Xi’s visit to further strengthen our diplomatic and economic ties,’’ Gatchalian said.
‘’I hope that with President Xi’s visit, the Philippines and China can agree to an accelerated timeline for the promulgation of a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that is satisfactory to all concerned parties, as part of our commitment to pursuing the peaceful and equitable settlement of disputes,’’ he added.
With the anti-drug campaign being a top priority of the Duterte administration, Gatchalian said he expected President Duterte to discuss with his Chinese counterpart ways to crack down on the supply of Chinese-made illegal drugs which continues to arrive on our shores.
GatchalIan expressed hopes that the President would be able to forge an agreement that would have China enforce stricter border controls at their end to minimize outgoing shipments of illegal drugs bound for the Philippines.
Philippine anti-drug operatives have time and again pointed out that most of the illegal drugs shipped to the country originate from China.
They said heads of the multibillion-peso illegal drugs industry have opted to exporting illegal drugs to the Philippines rather than manufacturing them in the country.