Truck drivers top drug users

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Vice Mayor Romeo Salda is moving to curb drug use in the Valley.

Salda said the visit of officers of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to Tuesday's regular session has pushed lawmakers to focus on the growing drug menace here.

Salda said the PDEA report bared three areas in the Valley identified to have rampant drug use and trafficking -- Pico, Betag and Poblacion barangays.


PDEA also informed the council of a growing number of vegetable trading truck drivers falling into drug use if only to stay awake and have multiple trips for trading produce.

Salda said it has become a practice for drivers to take in shabu to stay awake and have two – way trips. "PDEA reports said chicken dung drivers, porters and vegetable truckers have been known to use shabu," the vice mayor revealed.

PDEA reports show the three barangays have been the site of raids, apprehension as well as monitoring for the past months having a mix of drug users and pushers.

The trading post area in Kilometer 5 has also been identified as an area where drug use and peddling are done rampantly having pushers and user ready to dispense and consume illegal substances.

Salda said the closer monitoring with barangay officials as well as the activation of the village anti-drug abuse teams has been identified as one of actions to nip the drug problem in the Valley.

The PDEA will likewise face the Liga ng mga Barangay today to talk about the growing drug problem as well as to coordinate with the 16 village chiefs for input to help the agency in their advocacy.

In the barangay level, Republic Act 9165 mandates all villages to activate the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) as well as facilitate rehabilitation of drug dependents in their areas.

The BADAC is a barangay based council created to address the increasing drug-related heinous crime incidence. The BADAC is composed of the Punong Barangay as Chairman, Barangay Kagawad (Committee on Peace and Order) as Vice Chairman, and the members shall be composed of the following: SK Chairperson, School Principal (Public School within the barangay) or Representative, Executive Officer of the Barangay Tanods, NGO/Civil Society Representative, Representative from the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Representative from the President: Homeowners Association, and the Representative from Religious Organizations.

The functions of the Badac include, but are not limited to: 1) plan, strategize, implement and evaluate programs and projects on drug abuse prevention in the barangay; 2) coordinate and collaborate with other institutions implementing programs and projects on drug abuse at the barangay level; 3) continuously gather and update data on drug abuse and its effect on the peace and order situation in the barangay including listing of drug users and pushers; 4) submit a monthly report to the provincial Anti Drug Abuse Council (Cadac) through the DILG Baguio Field Office; and 5) Refer users and pushers to the police and other institutions for corresponding sanctions, rehabilitation and/or counseling.

A massive information campaign in villages will also have to be done to reiterate to village chiefs the key role the barangay has in the mission to curb drug dependency in the Valley.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 12, 2013.

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