The Good News

DARE Philippines leads fight to keep kids away from drugs

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Many young Filipinos who use drugs have stories of the devastating effects of drugs on their health and how these drugs have become a factor for the crime surge in Metro Manila.

Aiming to equip the Filipino youth with awareness against the dangers of drug abuse and violence, DARE Philippines Association Inc. organized and developed a community act that implements drug abuse resistance education for young students.

The primary goal of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) is to teach effective peer resistance and to strengthen the refusal skills of Filipino youth so they can say “no” to trying and using drugs. This will enable them to grow into healthy, self-reliant, and confident individuals without having to depend on harmful substances, drugs, tobacco and similar substances. The program also seeks to build students’ social skills and enhance their self-esteem by promoting and imbuing positive values.

DARE Philippines is the foremost civic organization banking on education to break the vicious cycle of drug abuse. The program taps DARE police officers, who are asked to take a break from their usual responsibility inside the police station, to teach in the classroom and perform a role different from their usual routine.

To become a DARE officer, PNP officers undergo a 10-day live-in training where they are provided lessons on classroom management, teaching strategies, communication skills, adolescent development, drug information, and thorough instruction on DARE’s 17 lessons. These enable them to effectively teach students.

Only those who satisfactorily pass the training are certified to become officers qualified to teach in classrooms. The core curriculum was built for and targets children in their last years of elementary school, fifth and sixth grades.

The DARE program was designed for implementation in the United States by the Los Angeles Unified School District in coordination with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) through D.A.R.E. America.  In 1993, then Vice President Joseph Estrada invited the LAPD to the Philippines to train PNP officers.  Those who passed the training became the first batch of DARE officers in the Philippines.  LAPD further trained PNP-DARE officers to become mentors.

Far from the rigid and authoritarian image of the Philippine police force, one of the important outcomes of the DARE program is developing an authentic image of the police force in the eyes of the children. A warm, caring and protecting police officer gives the child confidence in the police force, giving the child hope that justice in society prevails. In turn, the child will learn to respect, not fear or hate, the uniformed law officer and the rule of law.

However, without private sector support for the printing of learning materials and continuing training, only a few PNP-DARE officers are able to sustain the program.  This is why the first batch of officers, most of whom have retired from the police force, embarked on a revival project and sought the assistance of those who have been involved and have seen the positive impact of the program in fighting drugs.  

In response to the clamor of the officers to revive the program, DARE Philippines Association Inc. was incorporated last year by Dr. Antonio Abacan Jr., Bienvenido Laguesma, Antonio Lopa, Jose Pardo, and Alfredo Yao. The incorporators are also the first trustees with Abraham Co, Menardo Jimenez, and Donna Gasgonia. The non-profit, non-government organization has pledged to revive and strengthen the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program of DARE International/America (U.S.A.) and bring it to more Philippine schools.

Since its incorporation last October, DARE Philippines has conducted an officers training, with 21 PNP officers from the Manila Police District and the Pasay Police station/Southern Police District successfully completing the training.  As of the first week of January, PNP/MPD-DARE officers under MPD Chief PC/SUPT Rolando Nana have spared time and effort to teach more than 1,000 Grade 6 students in Manila’s public elementary schools.  Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada endorsed the teaching of DARE lessons with the full support of the officers/district chairpersons of the Department of Education-Manila Division of City Schools and school principals. PNP/Pasay-DARE officers are not far behind and are set to begin lessons in Pasay public elementary schools this month.

DARE Philppines calls on donors to help them in their fight against drug abuse. Interested parties may email them at [email protected] or contact +639175619578.














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