Challenges: The United States and the Philippines are long-standing partners in promoting bilateral and regional cooperation on peace and security issues. The Philippines faces continuing challenges in combating transnational crime, including lengthy and porous maritime borders, which allow the trafficking of drugs, people, and illicit goods through and into the country. The Government of Philippines does not have the capacity to adequately interdict the illicit movement of goods and people or effectively investigate and prosecute transnational and complex crimes. The Philippines also faces challenges and in enforcing human rights and ethical policing standards. Poor governance and corruption are pervasive and serve as a drag on the economy. Despite reform efforts, the justice sector struggles to effectively and quickly resolve criminal cases.
Goals: INL is committed to strengthening the overall capacity of Philippine justice and law enforcement institutions. INL programs work to build capacity on maritime law enforcement, promote justice sector reform, professionalize police training, and reduce demand for illegal drugs. INL is partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard to build Philippine Coast Guard capabilities to patrol Philippine waters and combat transnational crime. INL is working with organizations like the U.S. Department of Justice and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) to build capacity of public prosecutors, judges, and other justice sector officials. INL also partners with DOJ and non-governmental organizations to promote access to justice, respect for human rights, and accountability for human rights violations. INL engages with government, civil society, and international partners to improve drug prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery policies, programs, and services.
Accomplishments: INL provided funding for curriculum development for the National Prosecution Service at the Philippine Department of Justice and improved investigator and prosecutorial skills for the Office of the Ombudsman. It has also supported the institutionalization of legal aid clinics in the country. Under the drug demand reduction program, INL supported the creation of the Association of Anti-Drug Abuse Coalitions of the Philippines, which advocates for drug free communities. Under the maritime law enforcement program, INL and the U.S. Coast Guard have partnered to develop Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) technical expertise through in-resident training of PCG personnel in the U.S. and mobile training team visits in the Philippines. Ongoing infrastructure projects will help apply this technical expertise within PCG-led training facilities by 2020. Similarly, INL has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to enhance Philippine capability to counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by conducting IUU fishing training workshops with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).