Bohol war on drugs shifts into high gear

The Provincial Government of Bohol yesterday launched a sticker-posting program as a way to push families to keep their homes drug-free, in what is considered as the province’s shift into high gear of its relentless war against illegal drugs.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the provincial ordinance was signed by Gov. Edgar Chatto on the sidelines of the 121st commemoration of Dr. Jose Rizal’s death anniversary Saturday, paving the way for the posting of stickers that signifies a household is drug-free.

The signing of the IRR was graced by the provincial director of the Department of Interior of Local Government (DILG) Lousiella Lucino and witnessed by Tagbilaran Bishop Alberto Uy and Philippine National Police provincial director Senior Superintendent Felipe Natividad.

The IRR outlines the procedures and the penalties for the posting of stickers on various households. The posting of stickers is voluntary on the part of the households.

The program is part of the province’s effort to get rid of the drug problem.

As part of the Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Program Without Walls (CBRP-WoW), a sticker posting program is among the activities as a means of positive reinforcement among households. The stickers will act as a seal of good housekeeping about drug activities at the grassroots level.

Chatto said the stickers are ready for posting after the IRR has been signed.

The governor reiterated the responsibility of ridding of drugs does not rest alone on the government leaders. Head of families has their responsibility in keeping their households drug free, he said.

The governor likened the stickers as a badge of honor. Households will make an effort to have the symbol not necessarily discrediting the family nor violating any human rights, Chatto said. 

The launch of the drug sticker program on Rizal Day is perfectly timed as the governor used what Rizal said about the youth, as the young people of today are the ones impacted by the drug problem.

“Ang ilang kaugmaon, mao’y kaugmaon sa probinsya,” said the governor.

The governor lamented that even the developed countries have trouble fighting the drug abuse, and it would be next to impossible for smaller countries, like the Philippines, much more a province like Bohol, to fight a menace as colossal as the drug problem.

However, the governor said, harboring a fatalistic mentality is priming people toward perdition.

He said that “thinking only push us to believe there is no solution to the drug problem and there is no better future left for the country.”

The sticker posting is the province’s contribution to the solution to the drug problem. By using out of the box thinking, the province started out by pushing for innovative solutions.

The governor said he is happy all sectors of the society, including the religious sector, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and other government agencies took part in the formulation of the sticker posting program.

THE PATH OF THE STICKER PROGRAM

The path of the sticker posting program was far from ideal.

During the planning stage of the sticker posting activity, the idea attracted flak from critics, saying such moves may be in violation of human rights.

The provincial government slammed the comments of critics; the activity is meant to shame households.

Similar tirades have also put the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the defensive before as the move urges the drug personalities and their families to come out clean.

Stickers shall be placed on homes with no known drug personalities or users.

The ordinance was passed back in February, but the series of consultations did not end there. Down to the barangay assembly level, the measure was presented to the people for their approval and to make sure there would be no rights that will be trampled upon.

The CHR said the measure has been able to satisfy all legal requisites and the requirements that respect the rights of persons.

“So, the Commission on Human Rights endorsed our full implementation of the CBRP-WoW program including the Seal of Good Housekeeping,” Chatto said.

The Seal of Good Housekeeping is another program against drugs which is seen as a positive reinforcement approach.

Chatto said it is an approach that will tell the family having the Seal means recognition from society and government in the form of the posted sticker.

THE GOAL

The real goal is not to shame the household. The stickers encourage people to seek help to clear the home of drugs.

The stickers are not meant to discredit those with problems. The stickers are voluntary.

The governor said if a household refuses, they also refuse the extension of help to solve the drug problem. He hopes the various household in the province will cooperate in getting the seal of good housekeeping.

The households that refuse to get the stickers are the ones that refuse to solve the problem. In denying to get help, they are not contributing to the effort to address the drug problem that has impacted the province.

Chatto said the people should know what their responsibilities are as citizens of the country and community.

Meanwhile, getting rid the drug problem is a colossal task for the government, President Duterte was quoted as saying during previous pronouncements.

The massive scale of the drug problem made it too difficult to contain the challenge in just a few months.

Government alone is unable to face the specter of fighting drugs alone. Thus, the community’s involvement in the fight against drugs is critical and will be the decisive factor towards victory, officials said. (Dave S. Albarado)

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