By: Erwin Batnag
Bontoc – The Provincial Government of Mountain Province recently reorganized its Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) in support to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
The PADAC was reconstituted last August this year by virtue of Executive Order No. 18-2016 signed by Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. to serve as focal point through which various organizations and individuals may cooperatively work together against drug abuse.
Section 16 of Republic Act 7160 provides that local government units shall pursue undertakings to promote public morals and maintain peace and order, among other equally significant concerns.
The composition of the council as stated in the executive order is as follows: the Provincial Governor as Chairperson and the Provincial Director of Mountain Province Police Provincial Office (MPPPO) as Vice Chairperson. Members include the head of offices from the DepEd, RTC Branch 35, Provincial Health Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Provincial Information Office, Bontoc Market Vendors Association (BoMarVA) and representatives from the religious and private sector.
Last October 9, the body convened to discuss pertinent matters concerning the campaign against illegal drugs.
Governor Lacwasan, PADAC Chairman, mentioned that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued Memorandum Circular which calls for the organization, strengthening and operation of Anti-Drug Abuse Council in all level of Local Government.
Per said DILG memo circular, PADAC will provide effective mechanism for the coordination of existing services and programs and also to obtain funds, volunteers, facilities and technical expertise on drug cases particularly in our place.
PADAC Focal Person, Angel B. Baybay emphasized that since PADAC is a coordinating body, it must await the results of planning in the municipal level before formulating its plan. He said that before we decide on our intervention, we need to study the data from the municipal level since it is the formal task of PADAC to supervise the actions of the different Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC).
Reverend Father Marcial Lloyd C. Castaňeda called on the attention of everyone since drugs is a serious societal problem. “The fight against drugs must be a collaborative effort between the government, private sectors and the community as a whole. For the campaign to be effective, all different sectors must cooperate,” he reiterated.
Meanwhile, the drug situation in the province was reported by the Mountain Province Police Provincial Office. Police Superintendent Marcial L. Fa-ed revealed a total of 467 accounted drug personalities as of October 7, 2016.
From July 1, 2016 to October 7, 2016, 447 drug personalities surrendered and among them, 411 are users while 35 are pushers. In addition, nine drug pushers were arrested.
On the source and movement of shabu in the province, Fa-ed informed that supplies are coming from outside the province since there is no shabu laboratory in our place. The notable suppliers of our province are Metro Manila, Tarlac, Baguio City, Isabela and Santiago City. The Philippine National Police (PNP) with law enforcer partners are doubling their effort to address the pushers.
On marijuana eradication, Fa-ed informed continuous operations on the eradication of marijuana plantations in the region since there is an order from the president to end these plantations until December this year.
Fa-ed also asked the assistance of the different groups and agencies to collaborate with the PNP and suggest effective measures that are applicable in our province through the anti-drug council.
Moreover, Dr. Penelope Domogo of the Provincial Health Office gives emphasis on the appropriate measures to limit the harm to people who are affected by drug use and dependence.
Accordingly, drug addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing, brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. “We look at the drug problem as a disease so there is a need for the involvement of everyone” she said.
Domogo informed that the national government is conducting trainings on identification, assessment and intervention for drug dependents. The national government through agencies like the DOH and PDEA aims to train health workers, social workers, Municipal and Provincial LGU representatives and partner agencies in the community on how to identify, asses and give early intervention to patients who are drug dependents. It also aims to empower them in managing patients with drug use disorder.
She further urged these sectors for their direct involvement because handling the situation at the moment is crucial in our battle against illegal drugs.
Police Superintendent Marcial L. Fa-ed of the MPPPO reports on the illegal drug situation in Mountain Province during the first meeting of the recently reorganized Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council.