Drug testing for barangay officials pushed

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The Quezon City (QC) anti-drug abuse advisory council (QCADAAC) is considering conducting drug tests on barangay officials of the city after receiving reports of substance abuse among their ranks.

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Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, who sits as council chairperson, said QC’s continuing effort to address its drug problem also has to be strengthened on the grassroots level.

During the council’s first meeting at the QC Hall, the Vice Mayor also unveiled plans to provide incentives to barangays whose officials would all test negative during the drug test.

“What we need is to empower the youth, parents, the church and the barangays to address the drug problem in Quezon City. We all have a stake here and it is imperative that we work together since addressing the problem requires massive support among stakeholders,” the Vice Mayor said.

Mayor Herbert Bautista was also present during the council meeting.

In his brief remarks, the Mayor underscored the importance of strengthening the pillars of the criminal justice system for the speedy disposition of cases filed against drug pushers and couriers.

“Mahirap na kalaban ang drugs [Fighting against the drug trade is difficult]. But, if we work closely with other agencies and strengthen our relationship with them, we can prosecute those people behind the illegal drug trade,” the Mayor said.

In 2013, at least 379 drugs cases were filed in court. Last year’s total is 41 cases more than the 338 cases filed in 2012.

Besides the proposed drug testing of barangay officials, the QCADAAC is also planning to organize counseling programs in the city’s public schools and, at the same time, strengthen the barangay anti-drug abuse councils of the city’s 142 barangays.

QC’s continuing effort to curb the city’s drug problem also includes the expansion of partnerships with schools, non-government organizations and people’s organizations for the implementation of a comprehensive and integrated program designed to make QC a drug-free community.

During the meeting, Belmonte disclosed that plans are also eyed for the nomination of the QC anti-drug abuse advocacy, including the Tahanan Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center or QC Tahanan in Payatas, for the Gawad Galing Pook award.

Based on a QCADAAC report, barangays registering the highest number of drug dependents in 2013 are Bagong Pag-asa, Bahay-Toro, Santo Domingo, Balingasa and San Jose for District I; Commonwealth, Payatas, Holy Spirit, Batasan Hills, Bagong Silanagan for District II; Matandang Balara, E. Rodriguez, Socorro, Pansol and San Roque for District III; Pinyahan, Tatalon, San Martin de Porres, UP Campus and Krus na Ligas for District IV; Gulod, Bagbag, San Bartolome, Novaliches Proper and Kaligayahan for District V; and Pasong Tamo, Tandang Sora, Culiat, Baesa and Apolonio Samson for District VI.

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