The PWC of Davao Institutional Community Extension Services Office (ICES) in partnership with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) XI, and Mindanao Coalition for Children’s Rights (MCCR) conducted an Information Education Communication Campaign last November 19, 2020 for the benefit of students and families of the PWC adopted school, Magtuod Elementary School.

The activity was done in celebration of the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week held every 3rd week of November, pursuant to Proclamation 124 which aims to promote public awareness against the evil effects of illegal drug use as well as public cooperation in the government’s anti-drug campaign.

READ: PWC conducts webinar on the comprehensive dangerous drugs act of 2002 for employees

PWC and its partners met with the families of Magtuod Elementary School students to hand out comic magazines provided by PDEA alongside the school’s module distribution. The comics, which were available in both English and Filipino versions, presented creative means to educate young audiences about the danger of illegal drugs and asserted the family’s role in their protection.

“The pandemic really did hamper the way we usually conduct our information campaigns,” shared Mr. Noli Nephi Dimaandal, PDEA Information Officer III and Chief of the Preventive Education and Community Involvement Section, “since we could not conduct face-to-face lectures, we extended our educational campaigns through the distribution of these IEC materials for the Magtuod Elementary School community.”

MCCR through President of the Operations on the Children’s Rights Ms. Maria Rosario Yambao Suarez also took part in the initiative by advocating for the protection of children. She stressed on how the pandemic could lead to involvement with illegal drugs due to its impact on livelihood operations and economic conditions. “Our campaign should even be more intensive in these times in order for people especially the youth to understand and internalize the ill effects of illegal drugs,” she shared, “one way is reminding them every chance we get of the laws and the ill effect of usage. As our tagline goes, never try and never ever try illegal drugs because once you do you cannot turn back anymore.

Antonette Sumacapaner, Magtuod Elementary School teacher, expressed her appreciation for the activity. “This is very timely as we all know that November is children’s month,” she said, “ through these comics that they can enjoy and discuss together as a family, children will be made aware of the danger of drugs and preventive practices.  They are the hope of our nation and one way to realize that is to instill in their minds early on that they should not get involved with illegal drugs.”

Ever-committed to subduing use of illegal drugs in the community, the activity was just one of PWC’s engagements with the advocacy. Last year, PWC through the Kaagapay sa Pagbangon Program (KAsaPP) started working with different the local government and other organizations in revitalizing the lives of drug surrenderees through aftercare and livelihood programs.

PDEA XI has also recently expressed intent to formalize partnership with PWC in order to strengthen collaboration and intensify programs, especially in these times when the pandemic has magnified gaps in existing issues and restricted the means to address them.

“COVID-19 is there, and for some time it has disabled us from performing certain duties in the community,” shared ICES head Mr. Paolo Gaudencio S. Naval, “thus we are challenged to be more creative and resourceful enough to continue and move forward with our advocacy, something we trust we can achieve by strengthening ties with different organizations.”

Mr. Naval represented PWC during the activity, along with Ms. Ma. Liberty F. Cadungog, ICES in-charge for TED and Mr. Willie S. Lim, ICES in-charge for BED.