Police, partners step up drive vs drugs

Police officers, pastors, youth leaders and civil society groups gathered last March 28 in San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu to strengthen their local defenses against drugs in the island.

They resolved to keep their barangays free from drugs and to prevent illegal drugs from entering the island again.

Recently, the Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council of San Francisco declared 17 barangays in their town as cleared from drug affectation.

Police Senior Inspector Janus Giangan attributed this accomplishment to the relentless police’s anti-illegal drug operations. He, however, pointed out that stopping the problem of drugs in Camotes does not end with the Operation Tokhang program. The 1,967 surrenderers need to undergo and complete a rehabilitation program, the police official said.

The Cebu Police Provincial Office (CPPO), through its Police Community Relations (PCR) program, tapped the assistance of the Bless Our Cops and Soldiers (BOCS) Movement, Pamilya Muna Pilipinas (PMP) and the RAPID (Rehabilitation, Alternative Programs and Interventions for Preventing Illegal-Drug Dependency) Consortium to help activate community-based rehabilitation programs and to drug-proof homes and communities.

BOCS and PMP conducted “Be a Better Dad Today” seminars to police officers, pastors, barangay peacekeeping teams and other community leaders.

Dr. Grace Sumbillo explained that the solution to the drug-problem lies in the families, churches and communities–never should they relegate it to the police alone.

Pastors Revie Luciaja and Narciso Baril delivered the training to at least 120 participants, which they also received from PMP last February 29 in Bantayan Island.

The group also introduced the Sipag (Simula ng Pag-asa) 12-week Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Program–a holistic approach to drug rehabilitation that includes spiritual, psycho-social and emotional components.

The idea is to train more pastors and civil society leaders that would in turn echo the seminar in their barangays.

On the side, Dr. Ces Noble, RAPID secretary general, engaged some 50 youth leaders in a drug-awareness workshop.

The objective of the half-day seminar was to enhance their understanding and appreciation of drug-abuse prevention. The youth leaders committed to do anti-drug awareness in the Vacation Bible School that they will be hosting to kids in the barangay this summer.

The event also featured the Ombudsman Caravan presented by Atty. Michael Mernado, graft investigation and prosecution officer; and Maritess Soon and Irene Pintor, associate graft investigation officer III.

They provided information how the participants can acquire the various services that the government provides.

The same seminar-workshops were replicated in Bogo City, with 240 participants, and in Danao City, with 206 participants from various sectors and nearby municipalities in Cebu’s northern part.