DSWD Asec Lauds DavOr’s Anti-Drug Campaign Program

DSWD Assistant Secretary Jose Antonio Hernandez, during his meeting with the Executive Committee of the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) on July 7, Friday

DAVAO ORIENTAL— The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretary has commended Davao Oriental’s very own program against illegal drugs called Lihok NLD (Nagkakaisang mamamayan Laban sa Droga).

DSWD Assistant Secretary Jose Antonio Hernandez, during his meeting with the Executive Committee of the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) on July 7, Friday, said that the strategies of the Lihok NLD are consistent to the department’s “Yakap Bayan” approach.

Lihok NLD is a convergence of all government agencies’ and other stakeholders’ programs and resources in the campaign against drug abuse.  It is a holistic approach as it does not only aim to clear the province of any illegal-drug-related activity from barangay level up to Municipalities and City but also give equal importance to aftercare, transformation, and reintegration support for recovering drug dependents.

Hernandez suggested for the council to integrate some of the approaches of the Yakap Bayan to the province’s Lihok NLD to “transform the cancers of society into leaders of community” which he deems effective in changing drug reformists.

Yakap Bayan is based on the Ifugao Reflection Camp Model which focuses on immersing drug reformists into community service and capacity building activities such as involving them on trainings on disaster resiliency, among many others.

“In Yakap Bayan, we embrace drug surrenderers with the goal of transforming them into volunteers, then advocates, and eventually leaders in the community who are able to implement disaster resiliency and response programs. If a drug reformist becomes a vehicle for change, one can say that he has transformed”, he said.

He added that coordination and cooperation among government and other agencies are also very important in attaining a drug free community by “pitching in their programs and services” to provide medical, health and fitness therapy, counseling and psychosocial intervention, spirituality, life skills capacity building, detoxification, biomedical monitoring, behavioral intervention, and extension services.

Hernandez likewise stressed that the provincial government should do away from dole out system as rehabilitation interventions should be a graduated reward approach. “Before giving any forms of livelihood, PADAC should ensure that the person is properly rehabilitated. The reformists have to give back to the community first.”

John Madanlo, representing PADAC Action Officer Art Benjie Bulaong, talks about the Lihok NLD Program

Meanwhile, John Madanlo, who represented PADAC Action Officer Art Benjie Bulaong, said that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police are working together and are persistent in advancing the drug clearing operations “not just for the sake of declaring the barangays drug free but to really clear the community from illicit drugs”.

With a total of 30 barangays recently declared to be drug cleared, Hernandez encouraged the PADAC Executive Committee to present their own successful model on anti-illegal drugs campaign to the technical working group in Davao City on August. By Riza Golez

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