Davao City pioneers drive against illegal drugs

(Photo by Ralph Lawrence G. Llemit)

MANY Dabawenyos are probably not aware, but Davao City’s efforts against illegal drugs started during the administration of the late city mayor Elias B. Lopez.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Davao assistant regional director Behn Joseph Tesiorna, during the awarding at Monday’s flag ceremony, was also surprised to know that Davao City is the pioneer in the battle against drugs.

The late mayor issued an executive order in 1983 creating an Inter-Agency Council on Dangerous Drugs.

“I was surprised to know nga naa na diay program diria sa dakbayan sa Dabaw sa ani nga matang (I was surprised to know that there was already a program against illegal drugs implemented in Davao City back then),” Tesiorna said.

It was further intensified when Rodrigo Duterte was elected in 1988 as city mayor.

Duterte expanded the campaign against drugs nationwide when he was elected as president of the country in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Davao City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Cadac) said it is encouraging all private business establishments to work on with their "drug-free workplace" program, so that they will not encounter any problem when renewing their business permit next year.

Tesiorna said authorities have been encouraging firms to enroll themselves for training on how to conduct random drug testing among their employees and formulate a three-year drug-free workplace treatment and prevention program as part of the requirement before acquiring or renewing their business permit for implementation of the provisions of City Ordinance 0506-13.

The local ordinance requires all companies employing more than 10 persons a program to educate their employees, their families, and the communities on the ill-effects of illegal drugs, how to treat drugs and how to recover or manage it.

"Naga-conduct ang Cadac, aligned with several educational institutions, og seminars para ipasabot sa mga HR (human resource personnel) ug kinsa pa man concerned officers sa company to implement the program (Cadac has been aligned with several educational institutions in conducting seminars to inform HR personnel and other concerned officers to implement the program in their company)," Tesiorna said.

"We encourage them to coordinate with Cadac para makaapil sa seminar. Para pag abot sa 2020, during their renewal sa ilang business permit, di na sila maglisod (We encourage them to coordinate with Cadac to be enlisted in their seminars. So that they won't have a problem in renewing their business permits in 2020)," he also said.

The PDEA officer said other local government units (LGUs) in the country also wanted to adopt the city's ordinance.

Sports Development Division-City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) office-in-charge Mikey Aportadera, who is also a Cadac officer, said the ordinance seeks to ensure a drug-free workplace and not to instill fear in the implementation.

"Medyo bag-o pa siya nga ordinance. Naa gyud hesitation and apprehensions (The ordinance is still new, that's why there are hesitation and apprehensions)," Aportadera said.

He also said the number of business establishments complying with the ordinance is increasing, although he does not have an exact figure as of now.

Cadac previously reported in March that only 20 out of the 10,000 service-oriented companies have complied.


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