MANILA - A Filipino-Chinese business chamber on Saturday appealed to the public to shun the stereotype that members of their community are peddlers of illegal drugs.
While there may be "a handful of wrongdoers," such generalization linking the Filipino-Chinese to drug syndicates has been "besmirching our community’s reputation," the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc (FFCCCII) said in a statement.
"We want to reiterate that most, if not all of the ethnic Chinese community members in the country, are law-abiding Filipino citizens, legitimate business people and conscientious in upholding rule of law," the group said.
"Let us be more careful in making public statements that may unnecessarily create rancor, conflicts, misunderstanding and promote unfair stereotypes," it said.
The chamber made the statement following Vice President Leni Robredo's recent remarks that most drug suspects operating in the Philippines were Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese.
The chamber underscored that it has been supportive of government's intensified campaign against illegal drugs, noting that since 2016, FFCCCII has been making donations to rehabilitation centers in at least 5 provinces.
"We join the government and our law enforcement agencies in condemning and working towards eradicating the menace of illegal drugs as a moral scourge, a threat to public health and the socio-economic stability of the Philippines," the chamber said.
"We believe that a holistic anti-illegal drug campaign should include rehabilitation of drug users," it said.
The business group said it also backs the reimposition of the death penalty for heinous crimes in the Philippines, proposed measures for which are pending in Congress.
"We may look at our Asian neighbors like Singapore, China and Taiwan on how capital punishment has deterred the commission of heinous crimes," it said.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) earlier said illegal drugs in the country are sourced from the Golden Triangle drug syndicate, and not from China.
The organized crime group, operating in the borders of Laos, Myanmar at Thailand is deemed to be the biggest distributor of narcotics in Southeast Asia, PDEA director Aaron Aquino said.
The syndicate has been packing illegal drugs in Chinese tea bags to to make it appear that the package came from China, he said.