GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 3 July) – The provincial government of Sultan Kudarat is expanding the coverage this school year of its flagship Sama-samang Kabataan Upang Labanan ang Kasamaan ng Bisyo at Adiksyon or SKUL KA BA program.
Margarita Baynosa, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial director, said the local government is currently gearing for the program’s expansion to more private schools in the province in coordination with their office.
She said the program has already reached out to 54 high schools, majority of which are public or government-run, throughout the province.
“The expansion this year will initially cover private schools in Tacurong City and the municipality of Isulan,” she said.
In school year 2013-2014, she said around 8,000 high school students graduated from the program and were awarded certificates of completion and SKUL KA BA button pins.
Baynosa said they were regarded as THE GRADS, which stands for Trained on Healthy Environment Growing up Resisting Abuse of Drugs and pre-marital Sex.
SKUL KA BA, which is already on its second year of implementation, is an education program that focuses on raising awareness among high school students regarding illegal drugs and other related problems.
The locally-developed initiative is already taking shape as an effective tool in educating students against the threat of illegal drug use.
The official said SKUL KA BA is a product of DILG Sultan Kudarat’s recommendation to the Provincial Peace and Order Council for the development of an anti-illegal drug program for the youth in the area.
She said it initially took off as an annual youth symposium on drug abuse but later turned to the classrooms after its objectives and strategies were enhanced by a technical working group (TWG) created to handle the program’s implementation.
Presently, she said the anti-illegal drug education program is being implemented by way of classroom-based lectures among fourth year level high school students.
Baynosa said the lecturers, who were using three program modules, are composed of trained personnel from the Philippine National Police, rural health units, social welfare offices and the Department of Education (DepEd).
The implementation of the 2013 SKUL KA BA was highlighted as one of the best practices in the region by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine National Police (PNP) and DepEd.
It was earlier presented to Interior and Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas as a “Tatak Sultan Kudarat.”
The program’s TWG is currently developing a system to gauge its impact on the lives of the covered high schools students as well as to determine any corresponding behavioral changes.
A researcher from the PNP or Police Regional Office 12 has been tapped to develop such tool.