SAN NICOLAS, Ilocos Norte March 20 (PIA) – With the call of the government to wage war against illegal drugs, the first provincial anti-drug debate tournament was launched here on March 14-15. 

The Philippine National Police (PNP)-KALASAG under the Ilocos Norte Provincial Police Office (INPPO) conducted the event as part of its anti-drug campaign.

KALASAG or the Kabataan Laban sa Bawal na Gamot, an advocacy program of the INPPO established on March 2014, focuses on the protection of the youth against the ill-effects of illegal drugs.

In cooperation with the Ilocos Norte Debate Union (INDU), Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association, Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office, and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, majority of the municipalities of Ilocos Norte are well-represented in the activity that targeted the high school students of the province.

This is some sort of evaluation and monitoring kung ano ‘yung depth of understanding na nila sa illegal drugs. Hence, the debate,” SPO2 Aurora Joy Manuela, chief clerk of Provincial Police Strategy Management Unit, said.

On March 14, representatives of the different municipalities underwent the elimination rounds and coached by recognized and notable public speakers and debaters in the academe.

Eventually, the Laoag team, composed of participants from Mariano Marcos State University-Laboratory High School and the Solsona team with members from the Solsona National High School made it to the final round on March 15 at the Robinsons Place Activity Center.

With the motion set as “Extrajudicial killings are sensationalized,” mall-goers are treated with the intellectual exchange of the Laoag team (Government) and the Solsona team (Opposition) to defend their stand.

After the debate, the Laoag team emerged as the champion with Chris Paul Lagac named as the Best Debater.

“I feel amazed at how police officers are relating with the kids… showing them that police are not to be feared lang, but they can be friends, they can be partners in promoting peace and order,” Herdy Yumul, tournament organizer, said.

“Building a strong culture of debate is really a sign of a vibrant democracy. That not everything is imposed to the citizens without free will and discernment. So, when they debate in this match, para silang mga congressman,” he added.

Yumul also hopes that there will be a continuing and kinder partnership between the young people and the police officers.

Meanwhile, the PNP also urges the youth to be aware that the “war on drugs” is not only a concern of the authorities, but of the community as well. (JNPD/MJTAB/PIA-1, Ilocos Norte)