THE Filipino family, school authorities, barangay officials and employers will be playing a major role in the stepped-up anti-narcotics nationwide campaign ordered by President Duterte and Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa, a senior PNP official announced yesterday.
“We need to muster the full support of school authorities, out-of-school youths, jail officials, employers and employees and the barangay in our continuing aggressive campaign against illegal drug trafficking and abuse,” said PNP Director for Operations, Chief superintendent Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan.
The classmate of Gen. dela Rosa from Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 told the Journal Group they will need all the help they can get from the citizenry as the 160,000-strong police force started its Oplan: Double Barrel-Alpha two weeks ago.
The official said that at present, the 18 Police Regional Offices spread across the country are targeting for neutralization over 365,000 known drug personalities in their areas. The official said that from July 1 to last Friday, police across the country have visited over 3 million houses in line with the implementation of the PNP Oplan: Tokhang leading to the surrender of nearly 760,000 confessed drug personalities, more than 55,000 of them drug dealers and the rest users.
Cascolan said the PNP also conducted over 34,000 anti-narcotics operations resulting in the killing of 1,795 armed drug dealers during gunbattles with arresting officers and the arrest of more than 33,200 drug offenders, some 20,000 of them wanted for involvement in illicit drug trafficking.
As stated in Article IV of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the Filipino family, students, teachers and school authorities play a key role in addressing the drug menace which has been described by President Duterte as a ‘clear and present danger’ confronting The Philippines.
Section 41 of RA 9165 focuses on the ‘involvement of the family’ in the war versus drugs. “The family being the basic unit of the Filipino society shall be primarily responsible for the education and awareness of the members of the family on the ill effects of dangerous drugs and close monitoring of family members who may be susceptible to drug abuse,” it says.
The law clearly reminds the need for parents or guardians to keep watch on their children amid the possibility they could be influenced by their peers or be victimized by drug dealers in their school or community. This comes in the wake of countless number of fathers or mothers who have been arrested for involvement in illegal drug activities, even using their young kids as ‘fronts’ for their narcotics trade.
Section 42 of RA 9165 also focuses on the role being played by ‘student councils and campus organizations’ in the campaign versus drugs. It says that ‘all elementary, secondary and tertiary schools’ student councils and campus organizations shall include in their activities a program for the prevention of and deterrence in the use of dangerous drugs, and referral for treatment and rehabilitation of students for drug dependence.’
Section 43 of the anti-drugs law also puts emphasis on ‘school curricula’ as a means to educate children on the ill-effects of drugs.
Such instructions shall include: (1) Adverse effects of the abuse and misuse of dangerous drugs on the person, the family, the school and the community; (2) Preventive measures against drug abuse; (3) Health, socio-cultural, psychological, legal and economic dimensions and implications of the drug problem; (4) Steps to take when intervention on behalf of a drug dependent is needed, as well as the services available for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependents; and (5) Misconceptions about the use of dangerous drugs such as, but not limited to, the importance and safety of dangerous drugs for medical and therapeutic use as well as the differentiation between medical patients and drug dependents in order to avoid confusion and accidental stigmatization in the consciousness of the students.
Section 44 of RA 9165 also portrays the role to be played by Heads, Supervisors, and Teachers of Schools’ in the anti-drugs campaign. It says that ‘all school heads, supervisors and teachers shall be deemed persons in authority and, as such, are hereby empowered to apprehend, arrest or cause the apprehension or arrest of any person who shall violate any of the said provisions, pursuant to Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court.
Section 45 of RA 9165 also requires’ the ‘Publication and Distribution of Materials on Dangerous Drugs’ in the country.
Section 46 of the same law also mentions the need to create ‘Special Drug Education Centers’ in the country. It says that ‘with the assistance of the Board, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the National Youth Commission (NYC), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall establish in each of its provincial office a special education drug center for out-of-school youth and street children.’
“Such Center which shall be headed by the Provincial Social Welfare Development Officer shall sponsor drug prevention programs and activities and information campaigns with the end in view of educating the out-of-school youth and street children regarding the pernicious effects of drug abuse. The programs initiated by the Center shall likewise be adopted in all public and private orphanage and existing special centers for street children.”