Political Will


By Bebot Villar


LAST week, the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) conducted the “Orientation on Barangay Clearing” seminar in Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan through the initiative of Mayor Timoteo “Dick” Villar III.

The activity was held after the awarding of Plaque of Appreciation to Mayor Villar during the Monday flag-raising ceremony. Ang plake ay tumutukoy sa pagkilala sa kanyang mission na panatilihing drug-free ang Sto. Tomas.

The mayor sustained efforts to keep Sto. Tomas “drug-free,” an accomplishment that, modesty aside, is the legacy na aming iniwang mag-asawa sa aming bayan.

This is a fact that the Offices of the Pangasinan Provincial Director and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Reg. 1 can attest to that Sto. Tomas is and has been drug-free for a long time. At gusto natin manatiling ganito hangga’t maaari hanggang sa mga susunod pang henerasyon.

It really isn’t very difficult to make one’s town drug-free. All that is needed is political will of the town’s leader and the cooperation of community. Hindi ito kayang gawin ng mayor lang! Kailangan ang pakiki-isa ng kanyang mga constituents!

And we are proud of Sto. Tomas precisely because of the cooperation of the community ever since. Hopefully, tuloy-tuloy ang pagtutulungan nang sa ganun ay hindi tayo mawala sa bilang ng mga bayan na patuloy sa pag-unlad!

I thank the following DDB officials who led the discussion in that seminar, namely Asec. Amador S. Pabustan, on “Government Efforts to Address the Drug Problem”; Atty. PJ Vera Cruz on “Salient Provisions and Penalties of RA 9165 and the Civil Service Rules and Regulations;” Asec. Benjamin P. Reyes on “Current Trends and Patterns of Drug and Substance Abuse/National Anti-Drug Strategies on Brgy. Clearing Operation” and Usec. Rommel L. Garcia on “Harmful Effects of Drug Abuse, Treatment and Rehabilitation.”

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If Sto. Tomas can continue to be drug-free, I am sure other towns in Pangasinan and the rest of the country can do just as well.

To reiterate, the political will of the town officials and the cooperation of residents are the key factors for a successful campaign. What can give it a boost, are active Anti-Drug Abuse Councils.

Ito ang nakikita kong problem sa Pangasinan – ang activation o re-activation na matagal na nating inaasahan sa Pangasinan! Matagal nang natapos ang re-organizational meeting ng Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) attended by no less than the governor, Pareng Espines.

I still remember that he committed to allocate a portion of the local government unit’s funds for anti-drug campaign and will be collected for the initial start of the programs. Pero ano nang latest dun? May nangyari na po ba?

That re-organizational meeting attended by key officials in Pangasinan was impressive. Akala ko tuloy-tuloy na ‘yun! It would be disappointing to see that effort of PADAC go to waste. Sayang naman!

I often remind all that ADACs are important in the campaign. Besides, kanino po dapat magsimula ang pagkilos? It is PADAC or the Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC)/City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CADAC) or the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC)?

Funding, admittedly, is always the stumbling block but since we are all affected by the problem of illegal drugs, hindi ba’t mas mabuti na ang voluntary initiatives ay manggaling sa barangay?

It’s incumbent upon the other LGU Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (ADACs) to approach the PADAC if they believe they are facing problems. Dito po makikita ang inyong sincerity kung talagang taos sa puso ang inyong ginagawang paglilingkod sa bayan.

The lives of our youth are at stake here. Hindi po biro-biro lang ang problema sa droga! Hindi kailangan ang pag-papa-cute sa ganitong mga sitwasyon kung di aksyon! ‘Wag na po hintayin kung sino ang dapat o hindi dapat lumabas na maging bida sa isyung ito.

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While the DDB has been conducting seminars, I am happy to note that there are towns that are organizing on their own. They train their own lecturers and do their own seminars. Ganyan po ang Dagupan. Kahit sa rehabilitation of patients, aktibo ang office ni Mayor Belen Fernandez!

The Department of Education (DepEd) has been our regular partner in awareness seminars in the provinces. That’s why it’s important that DepEd at least conducts seminars for teachers, guidance counsellors and school officials nationwide. Hindi lang naman po once gagawin ang programa dahil maaari itong ulit-ulitin depende sa mga participants at audience.

Nariyan din ang PDEA Region 1 na madaling kausapin basta trabaho ang pag-uusapan. It is always ready to share their expertise. Even before the time of Dir. Tacio and now with Dir. Alvarino as the regional director, they have been helping our provincial police officers.

Sana ganito lagi ang samahan upang magaan ang pagta-trabaho.

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