Issue of September 10, 2017
     
NEWS
Benguet
Ifugao
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Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2017
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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‘Family vs drugs’ campaigns launched
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

It all boils down to having a strong foundation.

In line with the government’s all-out campaign against illegal drugs in the country, stakeholders in Baguio agreed that the best way to fight illegal drugs is to strengthen the family and therefore are keen on building FADs, or families against drugs.

Under the “Pamilya ang pundasyon ng Sambayanang Pilipino” slogan of this year’s observance of the Family Month, the City Social Welfare and Development Office, Baguio City Police Office, Department of Education Baguio, city council represented by the office of Councilor Lilia Fariñas, Balikatan sa Kaunlaran, and the religious sector represented by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints have joined forces to build FADs in the city by keeping them informed on drugs, the symptoms of an illegal drug user, and the role of the family in preventing or addressing one who may have already fallen victim to the country’s worse social menace.

Former Baguio councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, who represents non-government organization Balikatan sa Kaunlaran, said the group has embarked on projects aimed at strengthening families in the light of the all-out drug campaign of the Duterte administration.

Last month, the group, composed of professional women representing different women’s organizations in Baguio, has started a series of forums and lectures to some 400 residents as a mode of prevention of the illegal drug use.

She said in partnership with the CSWDO and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, these families, including persons with substance abuse (PSUDs) and their families, are oriented on the different kinds of drugs and substances. Despite being a common subject, Tabanda said it is surprising to find out that many adults are still not familiar with the kinds of drugs and which of these lead to abuse.

The participants were informed about the symptoms of a person addicted to illegal drugs or what to watch out for among their children; and the effects of these drugs to a person, his family, and society.

After that, the concept of a family is discussed and what the family as the basic foundation of the society can do in addressing and preventing the drug problem.

“Our stand is for the family. If a family is strong and united, there is love and respect among the members, and parents really take care of the children, we couldreduce the number and eventually eliminate illegal drug use,” Tabanda said.

She said the family support becomes even more important when one member is drug dependent, because it is a strong family that will be able to rehabilitate and redirect the drug user to the right path.

This month, the group is working closely with CSWDO in monitoring and following up the situation of those who attended the seminars to make sure that these activities are effective.

“We want to assure we are really creating families against drugs. The process does not end when the seminar is finished. We have to know, ano pa ba ang kailangan para mapatatag ang pamilya, so that it becomes an effective instrument in preventing drug users,” she said.

S/Insp. Maila Alog, BCPO public information officer said, the advocacy for a strong family is a big factor for the police force. So far, she said most of those who turn out to be offenders or those who commit crimes, are those who have weak family backgrounds.

Kahit anong gawin natin sa (pagpapababa ng) statistics ng mga offenders, ng juveniles, lahat po ‘yan ay bumabalik sa orientation natin sa pamilya. Kung hindi man may family history, ang parents ay parating absent, walang role model ang mga bata, ang mga taong may ganitong sitwasyon ang kadalasan naming ina-address, sila ‘yung mga nagiging problema.”

She said BCPO personnel have been placed in situations where they proved the seriousness of the drug problem in the country, when for instance they have served a warrant on a father for being suspected to be involved in drugs and later found out that the wife is in jail, and other family members also have histories of connection with illegal drugs.

“It is unfortunate, when we encounter families of drug pushers. We really have to convince ourselves that the problem is serious, and we could not do this alone. All sectors should be involved in making the family stronger in doing away with drugs,” Alog said. 

At the BCPO, police officers also make it a point to counsel or at least talk regularly with their personnel so that they could be role models by reflecting a well-kept family.

In fact the pressure is doubled on the part of the police because they must prove they can be service and family-oriented at the same time.

“Our police are bent to serve beyond our duty hours, and we know that this mandate will consume time intended for their own family, so we double our efforts to make sure our police could maintain good service and a strong family,” Alog added.


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