The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, RCBC Plaza, Manila, Philippines. Photo: Google Maps

Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines has taken exception to remarks by President Rodrigo Duterte that Taiwan is a significant source of illegal drugs coming into the Southeast Asian country.

In a speech at the 120th anniversary of the Philippine Department of Justice on Tuesday, Duterte blamed Taiwan’s Bamboo Triad and Hong Kong’s pro-Kuomintang 14K Triad for the illegal drug trade in his country.

Gary Song-huann Lin, the Taiwanese representative to the country, said the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines had taken note of Duterte’s statement, China Daily News reported.

Taiwan is willing to step up efforts and collaborate with the Philippines in combating the illegal drug trade, Lin stressed, but he denied that Taiwan was the source of drugs entering that country.

It has been found that 50.7% of the drugs seized in the Philippines in 2015 were manufactured there, with only 8.75% smuggled in from foreign countries, while the rest could not be traced, Lin commented, citing statistical data compiled by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Between 2011 and 2015, 61,303 drug offenders were arrested by the Philippine authorities, of whom 112 were foreigners, and only 0.04%, or 24, were Taiwan nationals, Lin added.