ATI earmarks P20M for drug education program

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Manila-based port operator Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) has pledged P20 million for a school-based drug education program to help combat illegal drugs in partnership with education corporation STI Holdings Inc. (STI), ATI announced in a press conference on Wednesday.

ATI Executive Vice President Andrew Hoad described the terminal operator’s own strict anti-drug policies as a factor in the company’s advocacy. A key part of ATI’s program is mandatory drug test covering all personnel on a regular basis as part of its strict safety protocols, he pointed out.

Along with drug testing, however, ATI promotes the maintenance of a drug-free work environment by integrating a comprehensive drug awareness and education program for port employees in partnership with the Department of Health and the Catholic Church, Hoad noted.

The ATI-STI “Drug Awareness and Resistance through Education” (ATI-STI DARE) Program extends the port operator’s approach to the community. The program will train teachers and teach students how to resist drugs and other vices through classroom education, practical tools, and youth-oriented activities.

ATI is donating a total of P20 million for the program over the next few years, with an initial outlay of P2 million for its preliminary run this year, ATI said.

For school year 2016-2017, STI has more than 100,000 enrolled students across 78 campuses nationwide, providing a wide audience reach for ATI-STI DARE, STI Chairman Eusebio Tanco said. After its initial run, the program could be extended to other schools though future partnerships.

“As an academic institution with over 30 years of experience, STI believes that among the best solutions to this serious social problem is to reach young people with effective, fact-based drug education before they even start experimenting with illegal substances,” Tanco said.

“As Benjamin Franklin puts it, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Tanco added.

“We are very pleased with this partnership as this provides a long-term solution to one of society’s pressing problems. This program perfectly complements our corporate sustainability advocacy anchored on youth empowerment and is well aligned with ATI’s stringent policy against illegal drugs,” Hoad concluded.

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