Illegal drugs have undeniably seeped into the root of social, health, legal and economic problems of our community, and in our country as a whole. The prevention of this problem demands a strong, collaborative action. It is on this premise that our fight against illegal drugs is not left to the police alone; we are a community moving together to effectively combat the menace. Our determined fight against illegal drugs took off when the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council was organized in January 1999. Immediately, an action plan that included the organization of the barangay anti-drug abuse councils in the city’s 31 barangays was implemented. We also immediately launched an aggressive information and education campaign that attracted various non-government organizations and volunteers in our war against illegal drugs.
Supt. Francisco Manalo Jr. presents to media 11 suspected drug users and pushers who nabbed during a pot session.
As part of the information and education campaign, the council met with parents, teachers, students and other members of
the civil society and expounded on the primordial role of the family in drug abuse prevention. Several anti-drug symposia,
meetings and dialogues in different schools and barangays of the city were conducted.
Aside from this, the Anti-Drug Abuse Movement, one of our local NGO partners, conducted film showings, stage plays and even invited an American teen group - the Teenmania USA - to perform in the different campuses of the city to draw awareness and create impact against the use of illegal drugs and substance. Other activities included poster and slogan making contests, art and computer graphics competitions, indoor sports and others.
Dagupan’s response to our campaign overwhelming that during the MAD rally in observance of the National Drug Prevention Week on November 15-19, 1999, at least 25,000 individuals representing a broad cross-section of the city, marched in the city streets to dramatize their vehement rejection of illegal drugs. Capping our activities last year was the organization of Barangay Shabu Watch teams, the very first in Luzon, which have been tasked to act as lookouts in the city’s coastal villages against smuggling of illegal drugs.
Through the active participation of the barangay anti-drug abuse councils, we were able to validate known drug personalities in every barangay. This resulted to the generation of a watch list with 247 suspected drug users and pushers. The city police’s vigorous campaign against illegal drugs has neutralized 216 individuals in the watch list. Interestingly, there were 116 others who were arrested that did not have names in the watch list. This figure was later found to represent those who were arrested in Dagupan City but who did not reside in the city. Many of them were also new personalities who were not listed during the validation process.
All in all, one hundred eighteen (118) cases for violation of RA 6425 have been filed in court resulting to 55 convictions. Records show that for the period under review, there were only thirty-nine (39) drug offenders arrested for violation of RA 6425 despite our more aggressive anti-drug operations, as compared to the 98 arrested last year in the same period. This could be attributed to the following reasons: conviction, decrease in the supply of drugs due to the haul of the PNP, massive offensive operations and drug information and education that created awareness in the community. So far, out of the 25 affected barangays of the city, there were targeted for clearing for the fourth quarter.