LEGAZPI CITY, June 29 -— Around 2,000 people joined the launching of the Bicol Region Ayaw sa Droga (BRAD) at the parade grounds of Camp Simeon Ola, headquarters of the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) in this city, Thursday.
BRAD is an organization composed of different sectors from the academe, students, religious, business and non-government groups, barangay officials and residents, media, Philippine National Police and other government and law enforcement agencies, who are working together in the information and education campaigns in the communities to curb abuse of the so-called “hard drugs” such as methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and other dangerous substances.
Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, PRO5 director, and the Albay Provincial Police Office (PPO) led the event that was attended by various groups including those deemed as “surrenderers” in the anti-illegal drug campaign of the Philippine National Police.
Those who attended BRAD’s launching included citizens and local government officials, including provincial and municipal officials; heads of all Barangay Drug Abuse Councils or BADAC in the region; officials of various government agencies like the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency or PDEA, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA and Departments of Education (DepED) and Health (DOH); Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Air Force.
Buenafe told the participants that the government is winning in its campaign against “hard drugs” such as methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and that there won’t be any let-up in the campaign against the traders and users of hard drugs in Albay and Bicol.
He attributed the decrease in crime incidence in the region to the government’s relentless war against drugs that has helped spur progress in the entire region.
Buenafe cited the thousands of Bicolanos who became members of BRAD, all of whom pledged to help in the government’s fight against the scourge of drug abuse and dissuade their friends and relatives from the “use” and trade of hard drugs.
He said the BRAD members also promised to provide information to police hotlines regarding the “drug personalities” who continue with their illegal operations.
Sr. Supt. Antonino Cirujales, director of the Provincial Police Office of Albay, said they will pursue BRAD’s programs even if a new director of PRO5 takes over after Buenafe reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on July 10.
“Buenafe’s major legacy is the program to curb the problem of hard drugs, particularly the launching of BRAD in various towns and provinces in Bicol,” said Cirujales.
During BRAD’s launch, major participants to the event signed a memorandum of understanding that they will support all drug surrenderers who will train with TESDA or enroll at the Alternative Learning System for the chance to get gainful jobs and enter the mainstream of society. (Jorge Hallare/PNA)#REALNUMBERS