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Thursday, August 18, 2016

#PartnerForChange: Zambo anti-drug advocates revitalized by gov’t leadership

By Dominic I. Sanchez

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Sonny Boy Jalani has been in crusade against drugs for more than ten years, together with his fellow Crime Watch Volunteers in the city, but it is only recently that he felt the fight is winning the war under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

“We started our organization in November of 2006, we have been fighting illegal drugs through advocacy for ten years now,” said Jalani, “and at times then, it was a lonely fight.”

Jalani shared that there was minimal to no support from other stakeholders including the government before the Duterte administration. “But we took it as a challenge since we cannot just sit down and do nothing knowing that something is terribly wrong.”

Jalani is very thankful to President Duterte, whose firm stance against illegal drugs has made waves and “magnified” the volunteers’ efforts.

“It has been an eye-opener, we did not realize the magnitude of those who are affected by drugs,” Jalani said. “Duterte’s leadership has magnified our efforts.”

According to Jalani, Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) although having been organized, urgently needs “revitalization.” “If the members of these councils do not know their powers, function, duties and responsibilities, then it is a problem.”

Crime Watch Volunteers visit and assist barangays in addressing crimes, especially the illegal drugs problem.

“We cannot just sit in a corner and do nothing,” Jalani appealed. “This is not the sole fight of President Duterte and law enforcement agencies. This fight needs all of us. After all, our children and our families are at risk.”