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Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines
October 12, 2014 issue
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Drugs in schools have alarmed education officials amid the relentless effort to rid the province of illegal drugs. Provincial Schools Division Superintendent Wilfreda Bongalos admitted that reports about shabu being sneaked into the campuses prompted officials to intensify the information dissemination of the ill effects of drug abuse. On the other hand, the national office of the Department of Education issued a memorandum to all school officials to ensure the safety of the schoolchildren, following reports that some students had been attacked by drug addicts. One incident had been recorded recently in President Carlos P. Garcia town where a schoolgirl had been raped, stabbed and died from a stab wound on her neck by a neighbor who is a drug addict. Another report had it that some students in a public school in Panglao had pot sessions in comfort rooms. Some students had also dropped out of school after being hooked in drugs, officials said.

According to Bongalos, a memo is not enough, and they need to conduct a series of training workshops for the dissemination of information against drug abuse to bail out the kids from falling into the trap of the drug menace. Another approach is maximizing the MAPEH (Music, Arts, Physical Education, Health) for the students to get interested in sports as a worthwhile pastime than getting into drugs, he said. Complementing the activities in schools, DepEd partners with Couples for Christ for the Cornerstone program which offers remedial sessions for values formation which is now being piloted in four towns--Calape, Talibon, Dauis and Alburquerque. For his part, Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II said the provincial government has been tracking down the operation of illegal drugs in the province and continues to put attention on two approaches--the supply reduction and demand reduction.

The demand reduction approach focuses on the training and increasing awareness of the children against illegal drugs; while the supply reduction approach focuses on the operation of law enforcers to eliminate illegal drugs. So far, P10-million worth of drugs had already been confiscated in one year in Bohol province, Damalerio said. Damalerio also noted that while the police had already apprehended a number of drug personalities, some impact of illegal drugs operation contributed to the self-destruction by a drug cartel itself by eliminating delinquent pushers and in some situations, the rivalry of competing drug rings. For National Youth Commissioner-at-large and actor Jose Sixto “Dingdong” Dantes, the youth needs motivation, models and inspiration to stay away from drugs. During the launching of Barkada Kontra Droga in Bohol Island State University on September 30, Dantes said the youth needs guidance to realize that there is more out there than drugs and the youth should be inspired to stimulate their talents to be able to establish self-worth.

For Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the fight against illegal drugs should be through values formation within the households, noting that the menace might have haunted the country but it has always been at lower key compared to other countries. The senator was in Bohol on October 3 for dialogues on infrastructure development, local government and climate change. He said the amount of resistance is maintained because of family ties and faith of the people to their religion. There are those who tried drugs, but stopped because of family consideration and their faith to God. The senator also disagrees with the implementation of death penalty as deterrent to criminality. He said he was still in Congress when the question on death penalty first cropped up and the lawmakers discussed it very lengthily.

“As a deterrent it serves no purpose, kasi yong papatay ng tao at magbebenta ng drugs hindi nila iisipin na hindi gagawin dahil ma-death penalty sila. Gagawin at gagawin pa rin nila ‘yong gagawin nila. As a deterrent it is not as effective. There are other better deterrents rather than death penalty,” the senator said. As a question of principle, the senator said it comes down to the issue on whether the society has the right to take a life of one of its own. “That is another question all together. Perhaps it does in certain cases, if the crime is already heinous and that the person concern can no longer serve any purpose in society, kailangan na tanggalin na sya. By the same thought hindi mo na man kailangan patayin, ikulong na lang, I'm not very convinced that the death penalty as a criminal deterrence or punishment will help solve our problem on illegal drugs, and other crimes," Marcos pointed out.(PNA/ANGELINE VALENCIA)

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