By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte asserted the creation of anti-illegal youth groups is a key to ease to the fullest the drug menace plaguing the country.
In support of the Duterte administration’s all-out war against illegal drugs, Belmonte has further strengthened the empowerment of thousands of “Barkada Kontra Droga” (BKD) members who now form Quezon City’s anti-drug youth force.
“If we want to create a drug-free and drug-resistant city, we have to focus on our young people,’’ Belmonte said.
“Through Barkada Kontra Droga, we will make sure that the leaders of our next generation will be the first ones to adopt and sustain a drug-free lifestyle,” Belmonte said.
Belmonte serves as chairperson of the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC).
Established in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the city’s schools, BKD promotes youth empowerment through organized peer groups advocating toward
preventing illegal drug abuse.
The BKD youth group in the city now boasts a total of 8,653 registered members, most of whom joined the program from November 2016 – following the launch of the nationwide fight against drugs – to March 2018.
BKD members in Quezon City have engaged in seminars, information campaigns, and training programs in partnership with educators, families and other sectors to spread information on anti-drug laws.
The program is open to students and youth aged 12 to 25 years old.
“We’re happy to see young people becoming role models for their own communities here in the city,” Belmonte said.
Including Quezon City, a total of 344 BKD chapters have been set up nationwide since its launch in 2004.
She noted there are now at least 90,000 members of BKD in the Philippines.
As head of QCADAAC, Belmonte oversees the city government’s anti-drug campaign in partnership with the local police, barangays, Church, and the private sector.
QCADAAC is also implementing a community-based rehabilitation and treatment program for surrendering drug users: either a 12-session, community-based rehabilitation, counseling, or a six-month rehabilitation in a facility, all at the expense of the local government.
The vice mayor also works hand-in-hand with Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADAC) in the city’s 142 barangays in an effort to bring down preventive education, rehabilitation services, and other anti-drug efforts to each resident.