DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan: Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. suggested that the four million drug users netted in the government’s anti-drug war, mostly idle youth, could be “mobilized for massive tree farming and reforestation throughout the archipelago.”
This was enthusiastically received by several groups, with only a few expressing their reservations because of technicalities.
About 90 percent of them supported the former Speaker’s proposal.
Majority favored harnessing the drug users for productive work instead of eliminating them from society, which is “unchristian and obviously evil.”
Leading the group is the Foundation for National Development headed by Brian Lu, former Rotary Club of Metro Cubao president, who considers the idea as “perfectly jiving with the government’s anti-poverty program and strategy to combat climate change and environmental degradation.”
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Retired Veterans Association headed by Col. Simplicio Duque also endorsed the proposal.
De Venecia, international chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, said his proposal “would have the multiple and concurrent effect in fighting poverty, combating climate change and environmental degradation while creating a large number of jobs.”
“It is our hope that the government might mobilize the reported four million drug users for massive tree farming and reforestation in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and thus keep them away from the narcotics menace, provide them some employment and make them productive citizens,” he added.
De Venecia said he hopes that “we can help convert them [four million drug users]from social liabilities to social assets.”