A lawmaker on Thursday called for a more comprehensive and positive approach to what he described as a serious drug problem confronting the country.
“While we commend the efforts of President Rodrigo Duterte in combatting head-on the growing menace of illegal drugs in the country, we believe that the right approach to this problem should be a comprehensive program that would involve the development of sports and cultural programs to keep our youth away from drugs,” Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said.
“We are definitely not in favor of extrajudicial killings, which in many cases, have claimed the lives of innocent victims such as Rowena Tiamzon,” Atienza pointed out during his interpellation of Rep. Christopher de Venecia of Pangasinan, who delivered a privileged speech on the death of Tiamzon and others like her who have become “collateral damage” in the government’s ongoing war on drugs.
The party-list congressman, also senior deputy minority leader, commended de Venecia for his proposal to make the development of sports and culture as part of a more effective preventive and rehabilitative program to address the country’s drug problem.
“In the coming budget hearings, we will again scrutinize the budgets of our anti-drug agencies such as the PDEA which have their hands full waging the war on drugs but have always been given meager budgets as compared to other agencies like the DILG,” Atienza said, referring to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
He added that he has refiled House Bill (HB) 2628, which seeks the restoration of the original functions of the Department of Education (DepEd) back to the Department of Education, Culture and Sports as it used to be.
Since 1986, Atienza said, five Presidents have come and gone but not one of them has left a cultural development program that would benefit coming generations of Filipinos.
“Our children are growing up without a sufficient orientation and appreciation of our country’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. In the Internet age, they are growing up being influenced by foreign cultures and ideas rather than learning our traditional Filipino values. How can we survive as a nation if our children are growing up without a solid cultural foundation?” he added.
Even the Philippines’ sports program is in dire need of improvement, according to Atienza.
“Gone are the glory days of Philippine sports when our [athletes]were tops in Asia,” he said.
Atienza added that he will continue to participate in all floor and committee deliberations on urgent issues such as the 2017 national budget as well as fight all pending anti-life bills such as those on divorce and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
He said they have also refiled HB 2631, allowing the showing of live proceedings of the sessions and committee hearings of the Senate and the House of Representatives over the government station People’s Television Network; HB 2623 seeking to create a Muslim Trade and Cultural Center in the City of Manila; and HB 2625 mandating all business establishments that made a profit to institutionalize profit-sharing by annually giving 10 percent of their net income to all their employees both regular and contractual.