“Valenzuela City has proven its capability in making impossible things possible.” This is how Valenzuela City Mayor REX Gatchalian expresses his optimism in transforming his home city into a drug-free locality in less than 90 days.
The City Government of Valenzuela and the Valenzuela City Police Station (VCPS), in partnership with the Valenzuela Anti-Drug Abuse Council (VADAC) and the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) launched its anti-illegal drug strategy dubbed as, “Valenzuelano Ayaw sa Droga,” (VAD) today, August 8, 2016, Monday, at the Social Hall, City Government Complex.
VAD is the third component of Valenzuela City’s holistic drive to combat the drug menace in the society. The first two components are consisted of the “Project Double Barrel” of the VCPS, which is essentially the combination of Project Tokhang and Project HVT/LVT (High Value Target/Low Value Target); and the VC Cares Plus, a comprehensive anti-drug support system crafted by the city government that will shoulder the rehabilitation cost of Project Tokhang surrenderees and will also provide them with job placement assistance once they have completed the treatment.
Under the VAD program, the 90-day action plan to make Valenzuela a drug-free city, combined strategies were laid out intending to identify and neutralize drug personalities from street-level pushers to big-time drug lords, investigate and prosecute drug offenders, put illegal drug personalities into rehabilitation, and revitalize barangays as self-policing entities and partners against the drug menace.
To prove true the local government’s commitment to fight drug abuse, Mayor REX shared in his earlier speech that the city government is bound to sack off employees who have been found positive of drug use in the on-going mandatory drug test at the city hall. He said in Filipino, “Maraming mawawalan ng trabaho sa city hall pero kailangan nating panatilihing drug-free workplace ang lokal na pamahalaan dahil tayo ang tagapagbigay ng serbisyo publiko.”
Administrative complaints at the People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) also await police officers who shall commit negligence in the performance of their duty, particularly in building cases against illegal drug suspects. Furthermore, barangay officials who would not support the implementation of VAD will also be sanctioned by the Ethics Committee of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
The local chief executive announced that more than sanctions, he prefers providing rewards better. Incentivizing the conviction of drug personalities amounting to PhP 100,000 per team is being finalized for the members of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (SAID-SOTG), who are now undergoing intensive training on handling drug cases under the VC Cares Plus program.
In Valenzuela City, right after a drug offender turns himself in to the police authorities, (1) his drug dependence will be assessed by accredited local medical doctors for appropriate treatment or rehabilitation; (2) either the patient will be referred to a six-month long rehabilitation program in Central Luzon Rehabilitation Center in Pampanga; (3) or the patient will be endorsed to out-patient Community-Based Rehabilitation to be set up by the LGU in Barangay Maysan, Valenzuela City for treatment and psycho-social support; (4) and once the person is already cleared of drug dependence, he shall be assisted by the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) as priority for job placement.
Mayor REX said that he wants to extend not only moral but also economic support to drug offenders who are willing to adhere to the government mandates and change their lives for the better.
Asked why the local government invests on drug dependents’ rehabilitation when more people are clamoring to just have those involved in drugs killed, Mayor REX answered that the local government is treating drug dependency as a health issue and, therefore, the local government should address these needs by the constituents as a part of its social welfare services.
The VAD kick off activity was attended by Acting District Director of the Northern Police District PSSUPT Roberto B. Fajardo who said that Valenzuelanos are lucky to have a local government that cares and is truly the national government’s partner for change.
Also present during the launch are Valenzuela City Police Station OIC PSSUPT Ronaldo Redoña Mendoza, Valenzuela Anti-Drug Abuse Council Action Officer, District 1 Councilor Antonio R. Espiritu, Liga ng mga Barangay President, Councilor Fernando Francisco, punong barangays, police force multipliers, and other stakeholders in the community.