MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday claimed that local terrorist group Abu Sayyaf has a “franchise” of the notorious United Bamboo Gang.
Duterte has tagged the 14K and "Bamboo Triad", which are based in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as among groups allegedly behind the proliferation of illegal drugs in the Philippines.
In a recorded interview on state-run television which was aired Friday evening, Duterte claimed that the Bamboo triad, allegedly based in Taiwan, has penetrated the southern portion of the country through the terrorist group.
“Meron nang humahawak. Alam mo sino? The Chinese Triad, the Bamboo Triad. Kinonsolidate (consolidate) na nila lahat at meron na sila parang representante dito. O dito may franchise ka. Ang binigyan nila ng franchise dito sa Jolo banda, ang mga Abu Sayyaf,” Duterte said.
“Magluto kayo diyan, ipagbili ninyo ano? Kaya karamihan diyan, pagka mag-attack, mag --- sabihin may nakita na mga sachet. Hihirit muna 'yan kaya matapang masyado.”
Duterte also said that some 17,000 cops are involved in the illegal drug trade.
The President also claimed that the crisis in Marawi City was triggered by the drug trade, contrary to the earlier claim of government authorities that the violence was triggered by the attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.
“Kagaya sa Marawi. It started with a raid kasi may huhulihin o may warrant. O ‘di anong nakita natin? The rebellion opened. Pero droga 'yun. Ganun sila ka-powerful na lumaban. Ngayon naghingi sila ng tulong kasi sabi nila Islam,” he said.
On Monday, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila denied being a source of illegal drugs in the Philippines, saying it would continue working closely with Philippine authorities to fight the narcotics trade.
In May, P6.4 billion worth of shabu from mainland China was discovered in a warehouse in Valenzuela after it slipped past through the port of Manila allegedly through the help of corrupt Customs officials.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) spokesman Derrick Carreon also said in December that mainland China is the origin of most meth in the Philippines.
“It’s safe to say that the majority of the meth we have comes from China,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Of 77 foreign nationals arrested for meth-related drug offenses between January 2015 and mid-August 2016, nearly two-thirds were Chinese and almost a quarter were Taiwanese or Hong Kong residents, according to the PDEA. - with Reuters