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Monday, May 25, 2015

Isabela City anti-drug body to engage communities vs drugs

by Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan – The Isabela City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CADAC) will revitalize the communities’ involvment in curbing illegal drugs in the city.

In a recent CADAC meeting, the council has resolved to involve more sectors in the community and strengthen the role of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Committee in the fight against illegal drugs.

During the discussions, the council has expressed concern over the dismissed cases filed before the prosecutor’s office due to technicalities and how these have been impacting on the morale of law enforcement, particularly the agents of the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

City Administrator Ramon T. Nuñal had expressed dismay over how the drug-related cases failed to pass Fiscal’s scrutiny.

“This is the reason why we have not called for the CADAC meeting for quite sometime due to these frustrations on how the drug-related cases are being handled by the Fiscal Office,” Nuñal said, stressing that law enforcement agents are investing time, money, and even risking peoples’ lives.

He cited also that the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force had also the same frustrations.

He also observed that the issue of illegal drugs remains to be an individual or personal level rather than a household and communal-level concern that needs communal approach in addressing the drug-abuse menace.

The council also planned to conduct community-based forum on the issue of illegal drugs to particular sectors, like the youth, women, and elected officials in the barangays in support of the efforts of the local police. The council also saw the need to create sustained advocacy initiatives given that one-shot information campaigns proved to be ineffective when not sustained. Also, the council moved to create criteria or basis that will categorize particular barangay, with the help of the PNP, in order to determine the degree of illegal drug infiltration in the communities.

Isabela City police chief Albert C. Larubis said that at least 40 percent of cases filed at Fiscal Office had been dismissed, mostly due to technicalities. He said that the Fiscal Office usually advised and or coached the police on how to strengthen its cases against illegal-drug suspects.

Larubis further suggested that the council shall institutionalize its advocacy campaign by creating advocacy team that regularly visits communities, schools, and other avenues that is funded by CADAC funds and supported by other agencies and organizations.

On May 21, CADAC met with the 45 barangay captains of Isabela City and presented the plans of the council.