By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
Thousands of elementary students denounce the use of illegal drugs during their graduation ceremony from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (DARE) in San Juan City Thursday.
In a ceremony held at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan City, 1,562 graduates composed of Grade 5 and 6 students from seven elementary schools in the city received certificates of completion after undergoing the 24-week program.
Senior Supt. Dindo Reyes, city police chief, told the graduates to follow the “right path” to avoid the negative influence of illegal drugs.
“Isipin ninyo ang bawat hirap ng inyong mga magulang upang kayo ay masuportahan sa inyong pag-aaral at mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan (Think of the hardships of your parents in order to support your education and to give you a better future),” Reyes said.
“Naway maging inspirasyon kayo sa mga susunod na mga kabataan, at hinihikayat namin kayo na suportahan ang kampayana laban sa illegal na droga (May you serve as an inspiration to other children, and I encourage you to support the campaign against illegal drugs),” Reyes said.
Launched in 2016, the DARE program educates the students on the negative effects of drugs and alcohol abuse.
In behalf of Eastern Police District Director Chief Supt. Bernabe Balba who was not able to attend the ceremony due to a prior engagement, Senior Supt. Florendo Quibuyen extended the congratulations of the district director to the young graduates.
Also present during the ceremony was actor Edu Manzano who is running for the lone congressional seat of San Juan City.
Before the ceremony begun, the loud cheers of students echoed in the sports arena when police officers from the San Juan City Police gave out red roses to the teachers who accompanied their students during the event.
City Vice Mayor Janella Ejercito Estrada reminded the graduates to bear in their minds the lessons they learned from the program.
“It’s okay to say ‘no’ to drugs. ‘Wag po tayong magpapadala sa peer pressure (Let us not be influenced by peer pressure),” Estrada said.