Duterte should revive Estrada’s Philippine Drug Abuse Resistance Education program

philippine drug abuse resistance education PHILDARE
President Duterte should re-intensify the Philippine Drug Abuse Resistance Education started by former President Estrada (Credits: The Philippine Star)

Even during the campaign season, President Rodrigo Duterte has repeated over and over again that fighting the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country will be his top priority. In the first two weeks of his administration, Duterte has wasted no time in escalating the war on drugs.

First, he revealed the names of five retired and active top-ranking police generals who are allegedly involved in the national drug trade. Then, he ordered the Philippine National Police to intensify its campaign against drug pushers and users – an initiative that so far is being blamed for the spate of summary executions nationwide.

Amidst all these, the government must not forget that education can and should be an integral part of the anti-drug campaign. Those from my generation still probably remember that during the administration of former President Joseph Estrada, his government entered into an agreement with the United States-based Drug Abuse Resistance Education International (DARE), Inc. for a local version of the said program.  This eventually became the Philippine Drug Abuse Resistance Education or PHILDARE.

philippine drug abuse resistance education PHILDARE
President Duterte should re-intensify the Philippine Drug Abuse Resistance Education started by former President Estrada (Credits: The Philippine Star)

When I was in Grade 5 at the Juan Luna Elementary School in Manila (that’s school year 2000-2001), we were made to attend a weekly session conducted by a local police officer under the said program. I remember that well because I was ultimately recognized as the top performer in the program, for which I received a gold medal. 😀

But kidding aside, I hope that President Rody Duterte re-institutes that program for all schools nationwide. If anything, we all know that the drug abuse situation in the Philippines has gotten much worse the past 15 years. In fact, the problem affects every community imaginable – from the most affluent to the most depressed ones.

It is essential for students at all levels to know about the different types of drugs and the dangers they pose to their health as well as the legal consequences of possessing them.

This approach is similar to my preferred approach to sex education: Make the youth as knowledgeable as possible about the topic so that they’d eventually make more informed and responsible decisions about their lives.

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About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

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