Congresswoman Limkaichong Keynotes Dangerous Drugs Board’s 39th Anniversary
Rep. Jocelyn S. Limkaichong spoke before more than 300 officials and representatives of government and non-government organizations fighting the ills of drug abuse in the Philippines, on the occasion of the country's anti-drug abuse agency's 39th anniversary and recognition rites. Last week was Philippines' Anti-Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 124.
In her keynote address, Rep. Limkaichong pointed out that there is an increasing problem of drug use and abuse in the country, numbering to around 1.7 million dependents per latest report from the anti-drugs board, but asserted that “there is hope that this problem will be solved, sooner or later.”
She believes the root cause of the problem “has something to do with our values system and lifestyle,” thus, she said, “our solution should then be about eliminating values, habits and ways of life that breed drug abuse; and strengthening those which could shield our people from possible drug use.
“This can be done through holistic, communal approach...and provision of strong emotional, psychological, legal and social support systems to everyone, drug users or not,” she stressed out. Rep. Limkaichong cited the need for “creative life skills trainings, massive information and education campaigns, counseling centers, formation of positive peer groups, and even of livelihood programs” to both “prevent and cure” the problem, both in the personal and communal level.
The Congresswoman cited a community therapeutic center, SELF Enhancement for Life Foundation, Inc. based in Talisay, Batangas, as one of the best practices and models exemplifying this holistic approach. SELF’s clients, who performed a musical entitled “A Fallen Angel on Christmas” during the program, are/were either drug dependents, cyber games addicts or have attitude disorders but are now undergoing rehabilitation – others have now successfully rehabilitated themselves – and are in the process of re-integrating themselves into the mainstream society.
The Negros Oriental solon also lauded the Dangerous Drugs Board’s “innovative” programs that gear towards this end, such as the formation of over 250 Barkada Kontra Droga (Peers Against Drugs) all over the country; its Systematic Trainings on Effective Parenting; its training for judges through its partnership with the Philippine Judicial Academy; and its provision of alternative source of livelihood for people affected by its massive crackdown and eradication of vast plantations of marijuana, among others.
The guest of honor also took the opportunity to congratulate and urge the Board’s awardees, which include local government and PNP officials, to further their efforts and “not sit on their laurels.” “This government and its instrumentalities, hand in hand with our public-at-large, should further labor to bolster our people’s sense of self by helping them uplift the quality of their life – central to this effort is providing our people with decent jobs and decent pay. People with a strong sense of self, and a high self-esteem would not need a shabu, or marijuana, just to feel ‘high’ about themselves.
“We need to do all these in a cohesive, sustained manner to send a strong message to those who prey on our peoples’ desperation, and low self-esteem, that they have to stop, or our claws of justice will clamp them down,” Rep. Limkaichong ended to much of the participants applause.
DDB Chairman Antonio Villar, Jr., USec. Rommel Garcia, and USec. Edgar Galvante spearheaded the program attended by participants from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Health, Department of Education, Philippine National Police, Philippine Information Agency, Local Government Units of Baguio City, Dagupan City, Bacolod City, and Dipolog City; the Philippine Red Cross, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, and SELF Foundation, Inc., among others.
The Congresswoman was also present during the kick-off ceremony of DDB’s week-long celebration, November 14, along with Mayor Antonino G. Calixto and Congresswoman Emi Calixto Rubiano of Pasay City. Last week was the country’s Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 124.