Schools told to do their part in addressing drug menace

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 Sept) – A prelate challenged the schools in the country to do its contribution in addressing the drug menace by ensuring that their students are kept away from illegal drugs.

In a press conference during the opening of the three-day 2017 CEAP National Convention at the SMX Convention Center Davao Wednesday, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) president Joel Tabora said “the first thing that all of our schools must give attention to is to get their students not to use drugs.”

“That is a challenge,” he said.

Tabora, president of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU), said the CEAP supports the position of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) against the bloody war on drugs of the Duterte administration but recognized the need for schools to initiate activities that will veer the attention of the students away from the illegal drugs.

Citing the Archdiocese of Davao, he said the churches are working with Catholic institutions here to reach out to the barangays and implement barangay-based rehabilitation programs, along with the City Government and Department of Health (DOH),

The prelate acknowledged the efforts of some Catholic schools, which have started with programs aimed to facilitate rehabilitation of drug reformists.

“These are initiatives which are also in other archdioceses. I do not know if they are in all dioceses and archdioceses of the Philippines but certainly they are in many. I can think of Cagayan de Oro, I can think of Manila, there is program in this regard,” he said.

He said the ADDU has Committee Against Illegal Drugs (CAID), launched December 15 last year, as a major partner of the Davao City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Cadac) and an affiliate of the Sagop Kinabuhi Program of the Archdiocese of Davao.

CAID comprises four key programs such as healing and recover, drug hotline referral helpline, human rights training for law enforces, and Ateneo In-House Community Awareness Training.

“The CEAP stands with our bishops on this issue. Bishops have condemned the use of extra-judicial killings (EJK), even as the bishops say that the campaign against illegal drugs is a campaign, which is justified because illegal drugs go against human life. At the same time, in this campaign against illegal drugs, the CEAP with catholic bishops insist the campaign be done in accordance with the law,” he said.

From July 1, 2016 to August 29, 2017, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported a total of 70,854 anti-drug operations conducted, 107,156 drug personalities arrested, and 3,811 drug personalities killed in anti-drug operations.

In a press conference Monday, Dr. Corazon Mamon-Umblero, community development service director of the University of Immaculate Concepcion (UIC), said they are implementing a community-based “UIC Kaduyog sa Kinabuhi” program in response to the call of Archdiocese of Davao and as an immediate action to the challenge of the government to help address the drug-related issues in the community.

She said a total of 30 drug reformists have been enrolled in their six-month program that composed of physiological, psychological and social component, and spiritual and economic components, which started on April 3 and will culminate on September 30.

She said their drug reformists, who they refer to as “UIC friends”, can recover faster with a “holistic approach”, in which faculty members, students, and student clubs participate in one of the program components, from nutrition and medical support, psychological support, business planning and livelihood, and spiritual support. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)