By Ellson Quismorio
The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs is bringing the battle against narcotics to a very important arena — the country’s different schools.
Chaired by Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, the committee — along with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) — recently launched a weekly anti-drug symposium in schools up north.
The first leg of the symposium was held in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and Bacnotan, La Union. This week, the Barbers panel is headed to Lingayen, Pangasinan ,to hold similar conferences.
The Mindanao lawmaker said that the school-based activity, which carries the slogan “Maunlad na Republika, Galit sa Droga,” is in line with supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.
“Public dissemination of information is fundamental in the ‘demand reduction strategy’ in the war against drugs of the present administration,” Barbers pointed out.
“We believe that the symposium will serve as a crucial step in this campaign as it aims to make students aware that illegal drugs are undeniably a part of our country’s reality and that they can actually do something about it,” said the panel chairman and staunch Duterte supporter.
Duterte launched a no-nonsense war against illegal drugs upon assuming the presidency on June 30, 2016.
Barbers further underscored the importance of proper information dissemination among the students in waging this war.
“The youth should understand that the best way to combat illegal drugs and other illicit activities is to get informed. We are not here to scare them, but to make them realize that if they get involved in drugs, there are physical, psychological and social consequences and the long arm of the law will eventually overtake them, and they will have to pay the penalty for their crimes,” he said.
“Just the same, we are here to let them know that there are government forces that they can run to should they become victims of drugs – na sana naman hinding hindi mangyare (something that hopefully will never happen)” Barbers added.
The symposium also seeks to educate students about the illegal drug trade in the Philippines, the ill-effects of illicit drugs, and the guidelines of the New “OPLAN Tokhang.”
OPLAN Tokhang is the flagship anti-illegal drug program of the PNP.