By Ellson Quismorio
Surigao 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers has made the case for the adoption of a resolution on alternative development as a means toward achieving a drug-free ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) Community.
Barbers did so in his capacity as head of the Philippine delegation to the 2nd annual meeting of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Advisory Committee on Dangerous Drugs (AIPACODD) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a statement from the congressman’s office said Wednesday.
The particular proposal seeks to make alternative development as a base principle of policies and programs for reducing illegal drugs production and trafficking. By introducing legitimate livelihood to communities, a more sustainable and drug-free economy will be achieved.
“The AIPACODD believes that an alternative livelihoods approach can successfully generate sustainable income for drug-dependent populations,” said Barbers, chairman of the Philippines’s House Committee on Dangerous Drugs.
“The extent of the drug problem in the ASEAN region calls for countless strategies that must be put in place. Once again, we convene to ensure that AIPA Member Parliaments are taking a pro-active stance in addressing the illegal drugs problem in the community,” he noted.
Last year, the AIPACODD adopted two resolutions during its 1st meeting in Singapore.
According to Barbers, the approval of the resolution on securing a drug-free ASEAN community for future generations and the resolution on the terms of reference on the AIPA Advisory Council on Dangerous Drugs prove that the AIPACODD is determined to eradicate the drug menace in the ASEAN region.
But Barbers himself said that the alternative development approach is “just one way to address the drug issue.”
“There is much work that needs to be done to confront the ills perpetrated by illegal drugs, not just in the ASEAN, but in all communities of the world,” he said.
It was during the Singapore meeting in 2018 that the Philippines first touted before foreign parliamentarians the success of the country’s anti-illegal drug campaign under President Rodrigo Duterte, whose hard-line stance against narcotics and criminality have made him a hot topic all over the world. (Ellson A. Quismorio)