San Miguel town, Caritas Virac earn awards for initiatives vs. illegal drugs

San Miguel town and Caritas Virac Justice and Peace, Inc. were the only two entities from the province of Catanduanes to earn special awards from the Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) for their anti-illegal drug initiatives last year.

They were among the 605 local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations (CSOs), regional focal persons (RFPs) and alternates that have been conferred with the 2020 Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) Special Awards for their outstanding efforts against the proliferation of illegal-drugs in the country.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that of the 605 awardees, 273 are LGUs that have cleared their previously drug-affected barangays; 234 are LGUs that sustained the status of their unaffected barangays; 70 are CSOs that have persisted with their anti-illegal drug efforts; and 28 are DILG RFPs and alternates.

“These awards are testament to the work of our LGUs and our CSO-partners in clearing our barangays of illegal-drugs despite the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Año.

“Time is of the essence and we must work both smart and hard in order to eradicate the drug trade in the Philippines and establish a system for the sustained status of drug-cleared LGUs and barangays,” he added.

In Bicol, San Miguel was among the four LGUs that sustained the drug-cleared status of their drug-affected barangays. The three others are San Vicente, Camarines Norte; Barcelona, Sorsogon; and, Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon.

San Miguel and San Vicente are also the only two LGUs in the region that sustained the drug-free status of their unaffected barangays from CY 2017-2019.

Meanwhile, among the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working with the government in the anti-illegal drug campaign, Caritas Virac Justice and Peace, Inc. (CVJPI) headed by executive director Rev. Fr. Renato dela Rosa was the lone winner.

The DILG, as chair of the ADAC National Audit Team (ANT), the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Caritas Manila as CSO representative, spearheaded the conferment of the 2020 ADAC Special Awards this year.

“Batid kong hindi ito naging madali dahil sa mga dagok na dinanas ng ating bansa ngayong taon, ngunit nagpapasalamat ako sa inyong pagsusumikap labanan ang iligal na droga sa inyong mga nasasakupan. Truly, you all deserve to be duly recognized,” he said.

He explained that to come up with the 273 LGUs awardees with drug-cleared status of their previously drug-affected barangays, the PDEA provided the parameters for the LGU recipients based on the recently issued policy on drug clearing, assessing a three-year period from 2017 to 2019.

Among other parameters set by PDEA are: Interventions for identified drug pushers; Barangays have submitted their BADAC watchlist of drug personalities to PDEA; Anti-illegal drug campaign of law enforcement agencies; and, various anti-illegal drugs advocacy campaign programs.

For the 234 LGUs that have sustained the drug-free status of their unaffected barangays, PDEA used the following criteria: revitalization and activation of their BADAC as per DILG Memorandum Circular 2015-063; at least one barangay has been identified by PDEA as drug-free; and, city/municipality/barangay issued Ordinances/Executive Orders on the implementation of Anti-illegal Drugs program, among others.

On the other hand, the DILG Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy-Project Management Office (PADS-PMO) provided the parameters for the CSO Awardees. Recognition of CSOs were based on their accreditation and continued efforts in anti-illegal drug programs/activities despite the challenges during the pandemic.

“Binabati ko rin ang mga CSO awardees na naging katuwang ng pamahalaan sa ating laban kontra droga sa gitna ng pandemya. Because of your partnership, more Filipino communities and families are safe from drug-related problems,” Año said.

He also mentioned that CSOs were also instrumental in the success of the Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Program (CBDRP) leading to the rehabilitation of 75,077 individuals nationwide as of October 2020.

Meanwhile, DILG ADAC RFPs and alternates were chosen for their performance and continued commitment to excellence in support to the anti-illegal drug activities and advocacy campaign of the Department. “Thank you as well to the DILG ADAC RFPs and Alternates, together with your PDEA counterparts, for your commitment to free our LGUs and barangays from the scourge of illegal drugs.”

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