A coalition of various stakeholders led by the city government has been recently formed in Valenzuela City to curb the spread of illegal drugs.
More than 1,700 representatives from homeowners’ associations, schools, churches, and socio-civic groups and officials of barangays and the city government launched the City Coalition of Anti-Drugs Advocates in a program at the Valenzuela City People’s Park Amphitheater last Saturday, September 5.
City Mayor REX Gatchalian told coalition members drug abuse is a problem not only of the city government and the police but of every city resident.
“Maliit na porsyento lang ang gobyerno sa buong siyudad. Mas marami ang pangkaraniwang Valenzuelano na nagnanais ng solusyon sa itinuturing na salot ng lipunan, ang paggamit ng ilegal na gamot (The city government makes up but a small number of people. There are even more average Valenzuela City residents who clamor for a solution to what has been considered a social ill,that is, drug abuse),” said Mayor REX.
Antonio Espiritu, CiCADA action officer and First District councilor, said the coalition is adapting seven strategies to accomplish its goal:
- Increase people’s awareness on the harmful effects of illegal drugs by holding seminars and distributing relevant literature among communities.
- Deter people from turning to drug trade by teaching them livelihood skills.
- Promote engagement in community activities as a way to deter drug abuse.
- Improve people’s access to quality healthcare, transportation, housing, and justice by streamlining government procedures.
- Encourage vigilance among the people by rewarding tips on drug-related activities in the community.
- Create safer communities by erecting more streetlights, among other means.
- Draft policies that will allow efficient anti-drug initiatives.
Espiritu said: “Malayo na ang narating ng ating lungsod pagdating sa imprastruktura, edukasyon, pangangalakal, kalusugan, kapayapaan, at antas ng pamumuhay ng ating pamahalaan. Marahil ay marapat lamang na tayong mga mamamayan ay makibahagi sa pagtungo natin sa higit na kaunlaran. Kailangang magkaisa ang lahat sa ating paglaban sa kinikilalang kanser ng lipunan – ang bawal na gamot (Our city has come a long way when it comes to infrastructure, education, commerce, healthcare, peace and order, and people’s quality of life. It’s high time we residents join our city in achieving an even greater success. Let’s all unite in the fight against this social cancer −illegal drugs).”
Reports by the local Station Anti-Illegal Drugs-Special Operation Task Group show the police dealt with 394 drug-related cases in 2014, and 207 in the first two quarters of 2015.