MANILA — Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada announced Wednesday he will bring to the city next month a team of elite policemen-instructors from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to train members of the Manila Police District (MPD) to become Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) instructors.
DARE Philippines Association, Inc., a non-profit non-government organization, brought DARE from the US to Philippine schools in 1993 through Estrada’s initiative when he was vice president and concurrent head of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC).
Estrada said they hope to train more DARE instructors as part of the city government’s plan to expand the coverage of DARE, a classroom instruction program that taps active duty police officers to teach Grades 5 and 6 students good decision-making skills to keep them away from drugs and other vices.
“We will be going full-blast so we need more DARE instructors who will give DARE lessons,” the mayor said. “This is my way of helping President Duterte in his fight against drugs, by teaching the young generation how to say ‘No’ to drugs at an early age.”
“This (DARE) is our first line of defense against illegal drugs in our schools. We must save our children before drugs get them,” he added.
As chairman of DARE Philippines, Estrada has made representations with the Los Angeles-based DARE International to send a team of veteran DARE instructors in the country to train selected MPD policemen to become certified DARE instructors.
Thirty-seven MPD policemen will undergo the basic 80-hour DARE Officer Training (DOT) course to be handled by 14 DARE instructors from the LAPD, who will be arriving in Manila last week of October, according to Dr. Antonio Abacan, Jr., president of DARE Philippines.
“After they have been trained and duly certified, these new MPD DARE instructors will then train their fellow policemen,” Abacan said.
The MPD, he said, only has 14 active DARE instructors since Estrada started implementing the program in Manila in 2013.
Last week, 29 members the Philippine Army-Civil Military Operations Group graduated from a course making them the first batch of military men to be trained as DARE instructors.
“As of now, we will continue what we are doing, expand it as much as possible due to the numerous number of students needing instruction,” Abacan said, adding that they are targeting 27,000 students this school year alone.
DARE is part of Estrada’s multi-pronged approach to eliminate drugs in Manila. Aware of the increasing number of drug dependents who need rehabilitation, he has also asked the national government for a PHP100 million funding.
He said the amount will be used to put up a specialized drug rehabilitation and treatment center at the city-owned Manila Boystown Complex in Marikina City.
Estrada is also continuously boosting the capability of the 4,500-strong city police force to combat criminality, especially illegal drugs, by providing them logistical support. Lily Ramos/PNA – northboundasia.com