Former LA police officers back Duterte’s, Estrada’s anti-illegal drug crusade

MANILA– Two former officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) have expressed support to the anti-drug crusades of both President Duterte and Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, saying that “drastic measures” have to be taken to address the illegal drug situation in the country.

Retired LAPD officer Scott Gilliam, who is in Manila to train members of the Manila Police District MPD) to become instructors of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, said Duterte’s and Estrada’s efforts to rid the country of drugs was commendable.

“Having the same mission, you have to look at that point when things are terrible in the country. And sometimes drastic measures have to be taken to address drastic situations, or when things get beyond the point,” Gilliam replied when asked to comment on the Philippine government’s anti-drug drive.

“You have to do something different,” he added.

Gilliam is the Director for Training of DARE America who, along with fellow DARE mentor Jeffrey Smith, was welcomed by Estrada at the Manila City Hallon Friday.

Gilliam was one of the founders of DARE in 1983 in California while working as police officer of LAPD.

Gilliam and Smith will lead 12 other DARE America instructors in training 72 members of the MPD to become certified instructors of DARE, an international classroom-based instruction that teaches elementary schoolchildren avoid drugs and other harmful vices.

“I know that the President wants to cut down drugs in the Philippines. And I think that is very important. The fact that he has made an effort to stop drugs in the Philippines, I think that is a tremendous effort, “ Smith, for his part, said about Duterte’s anti-drug policies.

Launched in 1983, DARE is a comprehensive education program taught in thousands of schools in the US and 52 other countries, including the Philippines. DARE curricula address drugs, violence, bullying, internet safety, and other high risk circumstances that today are too often a part of students’ lives.

It was Estrada who introduced DARE to the country in 1993 when he was vice president and head of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC). He now serves as chairman of DARE Philippines.

Estrada thanked DARE America for its support to his administration’s continuing effort to rid the capital city of drugs and save the future of the young generation.

“The people of Manila and I will be forever grateful for your support and active involvement in this crusade to make Manila a city for the future: progressive, peaceful, and drug-free,” Estrada told the team of DARE America instructors.

He said fighting the drug menace “is a fight for survival”.

“We must take immediate and effective actions for the sake of our country. As the mayor of Manila, I want to make Manila the first city in the country to be drug-free,” Estrada pointed out.

In inviting DARE America instructors in Manila, Estrada said they were hoping to train more DARE instructors as part of the city government’s plan to expand the coverage of the program.

MPD, he said, only had 14 active DARE instructors since he started implementing the program in Manila in 2013.

Early last month, through Estrada’s initiative, 29 Army soldiers from the Philippine Army-Civil Military Operations Group graduated from the DARE Officers Training Course, the first batch of military men to be trained as DARE instructors. PNA