By Ria Fernandez
The city government of Manila launched its newest campaign strategy to address the problem on illegal drugs.
The United Stand Against Dangerous Drugs in Manila or USAD Manila program aims to clear barangays from drugs.
“Just as the acronym USAD indicates a step forward, this program is likewise a step forward in addressing criminality and clearing our city of the scourge of illegal drugs,” Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada said in front of local government officials, barangay chairpersons and partners at the program launch at San Andres Sports Complex on Friday afternoon.
The USAD Manila will serve as the anti-drug master plan of all sectors in the city, both public and private.
It has four components namely advocacy and awareness, enforcement, reformation and rehabilitation, and empowerment.
The Manila City government will lead its implementation in cooperation with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Manila Police District (MPD), and other stakeholders.
“Noon at ngayon, ang krusada kontra droga ay hindi laban ng iisang grupo lamang (Then and now, the crusade against drugs does not lie in the hands of only one group). It cannot be resolved by law enforcement authorities alone, or by the local government,” Estrada said.
“Kailangan, lahat ay magkaisa (All of must unite). The City of Manila needs to have all its citizens and partners behind it if the crisis is to be resolved permanently,” he added.
For his part, MPD Director Rolando Anduyan believes that it’s best to capacitate and engage directly communities in this war on drugs.
Recent records show only two barangays in Manila have been declared drug-free by the PDEA and the Philippine National Police–barangays 202-A in District 2 and 663-A in District 5.
These are on top of the 24 barangays, which Estrada and former MPD chief Gen. Joel Coronel certified as drug-free in July 2017.
However, there are still 648 moderately affected and 248 slightly affected by drugs out of the 896 barangays in Manila.