Cebu News

PB body endorses scholarship for kids of drug ‘surrenderees’

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Board's committee on education has recommended the approval of an ordinance granting scholarship to handicapped and poor but deserving students as well as children of drug "surrenderers."

"This committee finds legal basis for the enactment of the subject matter. It is our humble recommendations that the proposed ordinance be approved..." read part of the committee's report.

The proposed ordinance has been referred back to the author, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, for representation to the PB for second reading.

The committee, headed by Board Member Christopher Baricuatro, said the proposed ordinance has a "noble intent" and is in accordance with the Local Government Code.

The committee said that establishment of the "Paglaum Scholarship Program" shows the government's commitment in giving "hope to the victims of abuses, the marginalized and the poor but deserving students," education being very important in the children's lives.

"The gain from the education of a child accrues not only to the child or to his parents but to other members of society as well. Education channels their talents and abilities towards a more productive goal, thereby contributing to other people's welfare by promoting a stable and democratic society," it said.

Magpale hoped that the proposed measure would be approved by September before the start of the second semester.

Once the ordinance takes effect, the province can accommodate 57 scholars for the first phase of the implementation. Magpale assured more than a hundred beneficiaries would be catered to next year.

She also said providing assistance to children whose parents surrendered to authorities for their involvement in illegal drugs is also part of the government's mandate.

Her proposal stemmed from the influx of drug surrenderers when President Rodrigo Duterte, who vowed to go after drug personalities, started his term this month.

Under the program, the vice governor has proposed P1 million as funding that will be sourced from the 2016 Gender and Development (GAD) budget.

Meanwhile, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueño yesterday said he would look into replicating the best practices of the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office in accommodating surrenderers of Oplan Tokhang, or the Philippine National Police's campaign of knocking on doors of suspected drug personalities and convincing them to turn themselves in and change their ways.

"Other national… are not ready sa pag-implement sa Oplan Tokhang sa PNP.  Walay nakasawo (on) who takes responsibility or what programs that needs to be addressed for these surrenderees," said Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office head Ivy Durano-Meca.

"We made an emphasis man gud , nga ang office is the lead agency among the other government agencies in terms of addressing the issues and problema nato kabahin sa illegal nga druga," she further said.

That was why Sueño was impressed with what CPADAO is doing that he intended to adopt its Crisis Intervention Program into a nationwide solution addressing the lack of support mechanism for those who promised to avoid illegal drugs and to mend their ways.

The program included establishing linkages with different government agencies, local government units, non-governmental organizations and private rehabilitation centers on how they were able to design and manage the Crisis Intervention Program to facilitate the surrenderers.

The Crisis Intervention Program, which was piloted in Sogod town, had been successful in recommending 229 surrenderers for residential rehabilitation.

This is in line with Section 2 of Republic Act 9165, which mandates the provision of effective mechanisms or measures to re-integrate into society individuals who have fallen victims to drug abuse or dangerous drug dependence, through sustainable programs of treatment and rehabilitation.

 "It is not difficult for us to institutionalize programs because na-establish man nato ang department that can monitor and manage all the programs" Meca said.

 She said, though, that as of the moment, the LGUs are not yet ready to cater to the sudden rise of drug personalities who 'surrendered".

"Nakalitan tanan, even national agencies as well, pag-Oplan Tokhang sa PNP, mao nang wala gyoy makasaw to take responsible or what program that needs to be addressed in these surrenderees," she said.

 "Mao pay pag-establish. Mao pa say pagsugod sa atong LGUs og focus sa ilang mga ADAC (anti-drug abuse council) then came the influx of surrenderers," she said.

On the other hand, Meca can say that about 90% of President Rodrigo Duterte's promises in fighting illegal drugs came into realization.  (FREEMAN)


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