ADDRESSING illegal drug abuse is such a tedious task that our government is currently facing.
But if each family fails to address drug abuse in the family level, illegal drugs proliferation can mostly and effectively be addressed and prevented when it is tackled in the smallest administrative division of our country, the barangay.
For one, it is the barangay officials who know the residents, their constituents. They know who are the delinquents, the drug addicts in their areas of responsibility.
And rightly so, the barangay officials had been mandated by the government, "as its first line of defense, in leading the fight against illegal drugs."
In the Department of Interior and Local Government's (DILG) memorandum circular 2015-63, the "Revitalization of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Badac) and their Role in Drug Clearing Operations," barangay officials are also tasked to strengthen the family by promoting values, parental care and guidance that will prevent children from attempting to use prohibited drugs, to conduct necessary seminars for the community on the dangers of illegal drugs in coordination with the Philippine National Police and to identify and implement sustainable livelihood projects as a reintegration program to former drug pushers and drug addicts.
Section 51 of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, states that "local government units shall appropriate a substantial portion of their respective annual budgets to assist in or enhance the enforcement of this Act giving priority to preventive or educational programs and the rehabilitation or treatment of drug dependents."
Davao City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Cadac) Tabangan Ang Reformist Aron Naay Asenso or Tara Na Program (Tara Na) Director Ronald Revira said that if these barangays are not undertaking programs, their annual budget will not be approved.
Revira has hit the mark when he said that the DILG circular is "not mostly followed because there are still other barangays who received budget without rehabilitation programs."
Actually, it's not just rehabilitation programs that are lacking in the barangays. One can seldom see a barangay that conducts seminars for values formation, parental care or even on the dangers of illegal drugs. Moreso the identification and implementation of sustainable livelihood projects for the "reformed."
It is high time for these barangays who always fail to do their roles and responsibilities as Badac to be disapproved of their annual budgets and use the fund instead for more tangible projects, create sustainable livelihood projects for the "reformed" perhaps. After all, if these rehabilitated drug users become idle... they might become the devil's workshop.