Sitting in the UP College of Medicine’s Department of Anatomy, Dr. Rafael Bundoc began by explaining how a big part of his mission was to change the attitudes of Filipinos when it comes to spine surgery. Spread out in front of the orthopedic surgeon as he spoke were his tools — silver streamlined instruments of various lengths. These instruments, and how to use them, held the key to the future of his discipline in the country, Bundoc said.

As the illegal narcotics trade in the country continues to thrive, the University of the Philippines (UP) has stepped forward as a new and unlikely partner of President Duterte in his war on drugs.

On Monday, UP Manila inaugurated its state-of-the-art Drugs of Abuse Research Laboratory (DARL), which boasts technology that can identify and analyze so-called designer drugs, or those not previously known to the government.