Message by Ambassador Bill Tweddell
Reception hosted by the Australian Federal Police and the Philippine National Police
30th Anniversary Celebration of the AFP in Manila and 2nd Foreign Law Enforcement Community Meeting
PNP Multi-Purpose Center, Camp Crame
9 October 2014
Undersecretary Felizardo Serapio, Jr, Philippine Centre on Transnational Crime (PCTC)
Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac, Jr, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)
Police Director Charles Calima, Jr, The Directorate for Intelligence, Philippine National Police
Director Franklin Bucayu, Bureau of Corrections
Ms Pines dela Cruz, Chief, Training Division, National Bureau of Investigation
and to our friends from the Foreign Law Enforcement Community
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) Manila Post first opened in September 1984 with the goal of reducing the impact of criminal threats to Australian interests, through cooperation with partner agencies in the Philippines.
In 2004, the AFP’s team within the Embassy was enhanced with the creation of the Manila Regional Cooperation Team (MRCT), which works with Philippine Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) to counter international terrorism.
The AFP’s first close partner in the Philippines was the Philippine National Police and, as can be seen by today’s joint hosting of this event, this relationship has gone from strength to strength.
Over the years, AFP officers have also worked closely with our colleagues from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine Centre on Transnational Crime (PCTC), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), amongst other Philippine law enforcement agencies.
Cooperation and team work is a theme of the Australian and Philippine law enforcement relationship. This cooperation and team work occurs both operationally and in capacity building.
Successful operational partnerships between the AFP and Philippine Authorities include:
- negotiating the safe release of kidnapped Australian Warren RODWELL;
- the investigation of the Super Ferry 14 bombing;
- the disruption of numerous multinational child pornography syndicates;
- the investigation into the explosion at the Glorietta Shopping Mall;
- the Makati bus bombing;
- the arrest of several high value international drug smugglers and seizure of large amounts of narcotic precursors which were bound for Australia; and
- the deployment of AFP members to Tacloban in response to Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.
Currently Philippine law enforcement agencies are leading over 20 joint international operations involving concurrent Australian and Philippine interests.
As good friends should, the AFP also tries to contribute where it can to capacity building and resource sharing.
A notable recent example of this was the participation of an experienced former senior AFP officer, Cedric Netto, in the Independent Commission on Policing, as part of Australia’s support for the search for a peaceful settlement of the problems of conflict-affected Mindanao.
Over the last 30 years, the AFP has engaged in a range of joint capacity building initiatives with Philippine law enforcement agencies, including conducting joint training courses, refurbishing establishments, and the gifting of equipment and vehicles, to a total value of over 400 million pesos. There are more than 100 Philippine officers who are alumni of Australian-based courses, and 1,500 who are graduates of joint AFP-Philippine courses conducted locally.
Australia will continue to engage with the Philippines on law enforcement issues in the future. This is a centrally-important aspect of the strong ties which bind our two countries – and an aspect of the Embassy’s work of which I am immensely proud.
Together, we are strengthening resilience to criminal activities and disrupting illegal operations both here in the Philippines and across the broader Asia-Pacific region.
Australia realises that transnational crime, including terrorism, can only be addressed effectively through cross-border cooperation. And we share the belief that members of our law enforcement agencies will benefit from sharing resources, experiences, knowledge and expertise.
The successes of Australian and Philippine law enforcement operations to date have been based on trust, mutual respect and common interests.
It is an Australian tradition to meet with friends in an informal manner, so please enjoy this relaxed but significant occasion celebrating 30 years of friendship, and we look forward to continuing to work cooperatively forever.
Thank you and Mabuhay!