Q and A: ‘Toff’ De Venecia on War on Drugs

August 29, 2016 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment


 Pangasinan 4th District Representative Christopher “Toff” de Venecia sat with media men at the De Venecia’s house at a coastal village in Dagupan City. He discussed the war on dangerous drugs aggressively implemented by Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte, his recent privilege speech at the Halls of Congress, and his two proposed bills “Prevention of Drug Use Among High Risk Individuals and For The Rehabilitation of Dangerous Drug Users, Etc.” and “Providing for the Social Reintegration and Monitoring of Rehabilitated Individuals and Appropriating Funds Thereof”.
1TOFF. Pangasinan 4th district Rep.Christopher de Venecia in an interview with reporters last August 20 at their residence in Dagupan City.CESAR RAMIREZ

Excerps of the interviews transcribed by Northern Watch’s Mortz C. Ortigoza:
 
QUESTION: What is your stand and the four district congressmen in Pangasinan on the present predicament of Pangasinan First District Congressman Jesus “Boying” Celeste after he was implicated by President Rodrigo Duterte to allegedly coddling drug personalities.
CONGRESSMAN CHRISTOPHER “TOFF” DE VENECIA.  Alam ninyo po hinde pa kami nakapag fellowship ni Congressman. I have my own relationship and fellowship with each of them. I also want to establish a relation (with Pangasinan) Governor (Amado “Pogi” Espino III)  para magtulungan lahat.
It is very unfortunate na nabanggit nga siya (Representative Celeste) ng president pero siya po ang may intelligence (network) that are not available to us (congressmen).
Ironically, never ko pa siya (Celeste) na meet. Sa lahat ng congressmen na nanalo from Pangasinan noong campaign hindi ko lang  na meet si Congressman Celeste.
It’s very unfortunate; I wish he could weather the storm. Of course, the truth will prevail.

Q: Do you have any approach to eliminate the proliferation of drugs in your own Barangay Bonuan Binloc where illegal drugs thrive since time immemorial?
A: Nakausap natin si bagong Chief of Police Superintendent Niel Miro at tinutukan po ng mga police ang drugs. Sisiguraduhin niya na masugpo ang drugs dito sa barangay natin. (But) I enjoined him that we are not for summary execution.
Q: What is you alternative to drug prevention implemented by the gung-ho Duterte Administration?
A: We must recognize that the formula embodied in the present efforts to curb drug abuse is not its end-all-be-all. It is only the beginning, as mentioned by my distinguished colleague from AKO-Bicol Party-List. For one, it has been deplored in various media channels as chimerical; perhaps even Quixotic to some extent, citing that there has never been “a successful war on drugs in any country.” But I am a firm believer in the concept of disruption – finding new solutions to old problems.
On the level of the barangay, I call on the immediate convening of the BADAC (Barangay Anti-Drug Council). To be able to solve the drug problem, we must first to know the root of the problem. Therefore, it is important for the BADAC to also collaborate with various sectors like parent-teachers association, health workers, senior citizens, and youth groups, even TODAs (Tricycle Operators and Drivers Associations).
 
Q: How about the funding for the BADACs?
A: I call on our barangay families to allocate a portion of their Internal Revenue Allotment or IRA for the proliferation of the said body, and for provincial and municipal governments to be vigilant about its implementation.
Q: What is the role of the Department of Health on your endeavor versus narcotics?
A: On the level of health, I call for the establishment and expansion of existing drug rehabilitation centers such as the ones found in Davao, Pangasinan, Cebu, Zamboanga, Albay, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Leyte, among others. These institutions should be able to cater to men, women, and minors who are drug-dependent, making available (at affordable rates or through state subsidy), in-patient services and dormitories for the duration of the treatment, under the keen supervision of the Department of Health.
In Dagupan City, our drug rehabilitation center was set up with a bed capacity of 300 people, through the effort of my father, former Speaker Jose de Venecia, and my mother, former Congresswoman Gina de Venecia. However, even with a bed capacity of 300 people, our rehabilitation center is struggling to accommodate the recent influx of drug dependent patients coming from Regions 1, 2, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.  It is only logical that the President’s war against drugs serve as impetus to expand the facility to accommodate in-patient services and dormitories for female drug-users, as well as minors.
 
Q: Do you have a social reintegration program for the rehabilitation of individuals?
A: One possible sustaining mechanism is the creation of employment and livelihood opportunities for rehabilitated individuals which could also serve as incentive for those undergoing rehabilitation. This can be spearheaded by the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare & Development) in cooperation with DTI (Department of Trade & Industry) and DOLE (Department of Labor & Employment) by coming up with cash-for-work initiatives, skills training programs, as well as strategic partnerships with social cooperatives and social enterprise business. I call on TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) to assist the DSWD by utilizing alternative learning systems in capacity-building for said livelihood opportunities. Furthermore, I am enjoining NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts) to provide artistic opportunities for the rehabilitated individual that would cultivate talent and free expression.
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Entry filed under: News.

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