The Provincial Government of Pangasinan joined forces with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and other line agencies for an intensified campaign against illegal drugs in Pangasinan in response to the call of Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas for a greater local participation to curb the drug menace in the country.
Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. rallied thousands of village chieftains and officers and executives of local government units, line agencies and the civil society in Pangasinan during the first Pangasinan Anti-Illegal Drugs Summit held on December 10 at the Sison Auditorium here, saying: “In my remaining 18 months and 21 days as provincial chief executive of the province, let us strive to make Pangasinan drug-free.”
After focusing on improving health care services and environmental protection since 2007, Gov. Espino said that he will devote his time in wiping out the drug menace in the province even as he called on political leaders to set aside politics for the sake of the welfare of the people of Pangasinan especially the youth and for the next generation.
Governor Espino, who is one of the principal authors of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act or R.A. 9165, vowed to exhaust all means to make Pangasinan a ‘drug-free province’ as he recognized that the problem on drug abuse in Pangasinan is real and therefore, must not be ‘trivialized’.
This drug-free pronouncement of the governor bolstered the earlier statement on the same occasion by Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Undersecretary Rommel Garcia: “Drug-free Pangasinan, why not?”
Garcia, who represented DDB Secretary Antonio “Bebot” Villar, stressed that the anti-drug czar extends his full support to the province-initiated drug summit.
It can be recalled that on September 16 this year, the governor and the DDB Secretary met at the Urduja Conference Hall here at the Capitol and agreed to intensify anti-drug campaign at the grassroots.
On the other hand, DILG Undersecretary Tomasito Villarin, who represented Secretary Mar Roxas, also hailed the efforts led by the provincial government.
He assured all participants that while Sec. Roxas is doing rehabilitation works in the Visayas which was affected by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Ruby, the Secretary of the Local Government has also expressed his utmost support to the activity. "This is a good strategy, gathering all stakeholders, having the participation from below going up." Villarin said.
According to Usec. Villarin, the DILG Secretary believes that the problem on illegal drugs is rooted not on one person but is actually a societal problem…that is why to solve the problem we need to include the ‘whole society using a whole government approach’.
Villarin and Governor Espino agreed that with efficient and vigilant monitoring and reporting of drug cases in the grassroots, the illegal drugs can be eliminated.
On his part, Board Member Amado "Pogi" Espino, III-- who recently authored a Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolution seeking the reorganization and reactivation of Barangay Anti- Drug Abuse Council (BADAC)--said, “the establishment of more efficient reporting, monitoring and coordinating systems, enjoining active intervention of various key players are needed to come up with a clear and integrated province-wide campaign against illegal drugs.”
“The war against drugs is far from over, but this could be triumphed through conscious, sustained and concerted action from all of us," BM Espino added.
Being the Liga ng mga Barangay President in the province and regional level, BM Espino expressed his gratitude to over a thousand Punong Barangay and other barangay officials who came in droves to attend and participate during the summit on anti-illegal drugs which was conducted in partnership with the DILG, DDB, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Apart from the barangay chairmen, the said activity was also attended by Assistant Secretary Benjamin Reyes, Deputy Executive Director for Operations of the DDB; Julie Daquioag, DILG Regional Director; PSSupt. Reynaldo Biay, PNP Pangasinan Provincial Director; Reggie Colisao, DILG Provincial Director together with Chiefs of Police; some Mayors, Vice-Mayors and Sangguniang Bayan/Panlunsod officials from the different towns of Pangasinan; NGOs and other representatives of line agencies of the government.
After affixing their signatures on the Pledge of Commitment to sustain a heightened drive against illegal drugs in Pangasinan, the attendees underwent series of lectures on the salient features of R.A. 9165, PNP Report on Illegal Drug Situationer in Pangasinan, Barangay Perspective on Illegal Drugs, Organization and Roles and Functions of the BADAC, Prosecution of Drug Offenders and other topics related to drug abuse.