It is everyone’s dream to live in a blissful community sans the chaos brought by crimes caused by illegal drugs. Everyone has witnessed how illegal drugs have ruined and destroyed millions of lives over time all over the world and how the government has exerted efforts and has been continuously doing everything possible to eradicate illegal drugs in the society, community and in the country.
During recently concluded the Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) regional Awarding Ceremonies, both Mayor Alyssa Sheena Tan of Santiago City, the host of the regional awarding and Undersecretary for Local Government Marlo L Iringan, the keynote speaker admitted that there is still so much to do in the fight against the problem.
USec. Iringan said the fight against illegal drugs is a noble task and a great undertaking and it would be better if it will be started with the end in mind which is to eradicate drugs in the community and in the whole country.
Quoting a management expert, Iringan said the question on how to eradicate drugs can be answered by another question, “how would we eat an elephant.”
“To solve the problem, we must first recognize it as huge as an elephant simply because the illegal drugs trade involved million and billions of pesos and has attracted ordinary people and even the officials in the government for easy money,” USEC Iringan stressed.
Citing data from the national level, the undersecretary said there are 9,693 barangays considered as affected barangays and in Region 2 there are still 190 affected barangays. Also, based on the data from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology all over the country, a big percentage of the Persons Deprived of Liberty or PDLs are involved in drugs and many of them are repeat offenders.
“It is big because it is unfortunate that, with due respect, there are men in uniform, local officials that are involved in illegal drugs and I am praying none of us here is involved in illegal drugs because if are, we are committing two sins, first, we will be violating laws and second, we are violating our oath of office,” he said.
The second way according to USec. Iringan is, there is a need to cut the elephant into small pieces so it could be swallowed.
“We need specific intervention for specific sectors, it cannot be a one-time big time approach. It will be specific, meaning we have to go down to the lowest unit of society, which is the individual, we have to police ourselves, our households, our communities and our local government also. We need to involve all the offices of our government from the national to provincial city and municipality level, the church, the youth, the women, the senior citizen. Everybody can contribute to the fight against illegal drugs,” the USEC said.
The third way to is to invite and connect with people from the different sectors and involve the parents being the first ones who can directly educate the children about drugs.
“Teaching the young ones the values and the virtues that we need to hold in our hearts- virtues of love, caring, respect for others, nationalism and love of our country are simple things but can make a lot of difference in ensuring that the children are disciplined individuals. The older siblings must serve as role models to their younger brothers and sisters. We, the local officials need to be the role models in our communities,” USec. Iringan said.
He said the church and the universities are strategic partners which the government can link with in order to reach out to the students, students leaders and youth leaders and the Sangguniang Kabataan as provided under the local government of 1991.
“The 42,046 barangay all over the country when mobilized, these groups will be a very big force in the fight against drugs. So we need to delete in our minds indifference and cynicism, we cannot just say, it’s our neighbor’s problem. For the meantime, that his problem but teventually, it will become your problem,” USEC Iringan stressed.
The fourth way according to Iringan is, there is a need to eat every day, meaning, there must be consistency and sustainability, it cannot be seasonal because the drug lord will come and take away the children, steal away the future of the children and steal the barangays one by one.
The USec told the different stakeholders must take advantage of the social media and radio stations in the community for the airing of advertisement regarding illegal drugs and make sure that their programs are producing good results.
Iringan likewise underscored the role of the local government units in making sure of the success of the anti-illegal drug campaign such as continuous support to the Philippine National Police and other security agencies of the government.
“You should continue to allot substantial funds for your anti-illegal drugs campaign as provided under Republic Act 92165. It did not mention any amount, so we leave it to your collective wisdom to determine how much is substantial,” the USEC told the local officials.
The undersecretary also left an order to the mayors and the vice mayor to make sure that their barangay officials are performing their responsibilities because being in the grassroots, they know better the configuration of the barangays and the people in their areas.
“You can just imagine how blissful life could be if we don’t have problems on illegal drugs, Lady students can go home after their classes at night without fear of being raped. People can stroll in the park and mothers can go to drugstores even late at night to buy medicines for their sick children without being attacked,” the USEC said.
He said if the desired end that the government wants to achieve which is to end the problems on illegal drugs, there will be more funds fro be allotted for medicines, medical facilities, rescue equipments instead of spending much for bullets and guns for anti-criminality campaigns. (OTB/TCB/PIA Quirino)