The Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CPADAC) is in the midst of holding a series of evaluation reviews and exit conferences. The undertakingis conducted with managements of LGUs landing on the top ten and bottom ten performers in the maiden run of the Just Say No (JSN) Program.
CPADAC Vice-Chairperson and JSN Program Director Carmen Remedios Durano-Meca says that the evaluation review processaimstopromote functionality, performance and efficiency in implementing LGU anti-drug programs especially on administrative and financial management of Anti Drug Abuse Councils (ADACs).
Durano-Meca explains that exit conferences are intended to communicate evaluation results to LGUssince it is their last opportunity to comment on the findings and recommendations prior to issuance of the final report. Their input is important in ensuring that the evaluation results are fairly presented and that recommendations are reasonable and free of any errors or misunderstandings. After the exit conference, she continues, the LGU will be asked to respond to the findings and recommendations in writing.
The evaluation report, which contains the LGUs’ strong points as well as their shortcomings, can be made as a basis in setting upLGU anti-drug programs and in adjusting policies, priorities or procedures to make their anti-drug operations as effective and efficient as possible.
From July to September last year LGUs were evaluated on policies and actions addressing their drug problems based on a Performance Scorecard. The top 10 performers were recognized during the National Drug Awareness Week celebrations in November also of last year.
It may be recalled that JSN Program was launched to ensure theimplementation of demand reduction strategy – the often overlooked other aspect of the anti-drug campaign – since the public is familiar only withsupply reduction strategies carried out through police raids and arrests. Nonetheless JSN includes provisions for supply reductions programs since it adopts the government’s two-pronged approach in anti-drug campaign.
JSN’s highlightingthe demand reduction strategies and programsmeans educating the public on the community and LGU’s vital roles in containing the drug market and soliciting their active involvement and participation in preventing and solving their own drug problems.
JSN 1 was basicallybaseline data gathering trying to get the picture of an LGU’s drug situation while activating moribund drug demand reduction programs of government agencies to complement the drug supply reduction efforts of law enforcement agencies.
Thus, anti-drug abuse prevention and control and treatment programs embedded in the mandates of the Department of Education, the City/Municipal Health andSocial Welfare Offices, the Local Government and Interior Offices, and ADACs were identified and assessed for benchmarking.
The first round evaluation reveals that most LGUs do not have concrete anti-drug programs and legislations due to lack of knowledge of their existence and relevance while anti-drug programs of the agencies mentioned above are not being implemented.
Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (ADACs) both in the City/Municipal and Barangay levels remained idle after being organized owing to lack of understanding of their purpose and functions.
Most LGUs failed toallocate substantial portion of their annual budgets for anti-drug campaigns contrary to the mandate of the comprehensive dangerous drugs act. Some even failed to utilize anti-drug funds for lack of plans of actions. This prompted Gov. Hilario P. Davide III to issue an Executive Order directing LGUs to allocate budgets for anti-drug programs that is separate and distinct from allocations for Peace and Order Programs; and for CPADAC to initiate a series of action planning seminars.
During the exit conference, CPADAC puts forward recommendations such as holding of monthly ADAC meetings and drawing up of annual plan of actions containing anti-drug programs to be implemented for that particular year with their corresponding budget allocations. It also involvesenacting and implementing anti-drug legislative measures; strengthening demand reduction programs by organizing purok system; setting up of websites for anti-drug advocacy; conducting random drug tests. CPADAC also wants to actively pursue the organization of Barkada Kontra Droga (BKD) in secondary schools by constituting SSG officers as automatic BKD officers; support groups made up of school organizations, parents, faculty and alumni organizations; integrating drug abuse instructions in school curriculum; integrating drug abuse instruction in primary health care program. It also wants to establish Special Drug Education Centers (SDEC) for out-of-school youths; strengthening livelihood programs for parents and out-of-school youths; organizing and federating Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines (PYAP) chapters; and capacitating C/MSWDO through the annual FDAPP seminar.
It is expected that much-improved and effective LGU anti-drug programs are in place and running during the next evaluation phase later in July. As Durano-Meca says, after all the performance of LGUsin this regard is indicative of their anti-drug policies and actions and reflectiveof their resolve in addressing the drug menace. Atty. Mauro Lisen