By Felisandelle C. De Vera
The Dagupan City government held an anti-drug symposium last July 12 on the theme "Keeping our Schools, Barangays and Communities Safe from Drugs which was attended by 221 participants from the education sector and officials of the Parents
Teachers Association (PTA).
The seminar answered various queries from teachers, parents and concerned citizens on what to do or how to deal with situations regarding the illegal drug trade.
City Administrator Farah Decano welcomed the participants by asking questions on why drug abuse still thrives in the city despite the presence of many courageous individuals.
In her message, Decano said that through the guidance of the Dagupan City Drug Abuse Council (DCDAC) and other supporting offices, "we must disseminate information so that we may be able to use our courage properly".
Meanwhile, Supt. Christopher Abrahano, police chief, said that now is the time for the city to wake up and do its part in fighting drugs given the fact that five of the 31 barangays in the city were identified as drug hot spots with the other barangays having at least one case of drug abuse each.
Since January 2013, the Dagupan City Police Station (DCPS) conducted 95 operations that led to the arrest of 159 persons and the seizure of P2.9 million worth of illegal drugs.
Abrahano, who is vice chairman of the Dagupan City Drug Abuse Council, assured that the police are doing everything to stump out illegal drugs in the city and is now bringing its educational campaign in schools and the barangays.
“Your government is doing something about it, the police is doing something about it. Let us all help each other in this endeavor . . . in the greatest fight of our lives," Abrahano said.
Meanwhile, Dagupan City Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Gloria R. Torres encouraged teachers to join and win the fight against the drug menace,adding that the education sector is one with Mayor Belen Fernandez in her crusade against illegal drugs and in making the city drug free.
Torres announced that DEPED staff and teachers will undergo a mandatory drug testing sometime in August adding "it's about time to get to know who among our people are really into drugs".
She said no one can ever tell who is into drugs "unless we have the data, and that data can be known by subjecting ourselves and our people with the drug
Various lectures on drugs and drug abuse were given by P/SI Bernabe Ramos, P/SI John Corpuz who briefed the participants on the drug situation in the city and on how the police work on drug cases.
Meanwhile, City Prosecutor Joven Maramba updated the participants on Republic Act 9165 and went on to lecture on the role of the School Administrators and Teachers as persons in authority, campus security and other safety measures.
PDEA Legal Officer IV Atty. Alan Ancheta enlightened the group on the enforcement of the anti-drugs law'while DDB-DOH Treatment and Rehabilitation head Raymond Basbas gave details and lectures on how to identify a drug user, their signs and symptoms.