In an interview on September 15, after attending the launch of the 159th Malasakit Center in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go discussed his proposed three-pronged strategy for combating the country’s drug problem, emphasizing the roles of law enforcement, rehabilitation, and prevention.
“Maybe kanya-kanya namang approach. Panahon ni (dating) pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte, massive ang kanyang drug campaign. Ako po suportado ko po si Presidente Bongbong Marcos kung anuman po ang kanyang approach basta dapat patuloy na labanan ang iligal na droga,” said Go.
“Dahil kapag bumalik po ang iligal na droga, babalik ang korapsyon sa gobyerno, babalik ang kriminalidad, delikado po tayo,” he added.
The first approach focuses on empowering those in charge of law enforcement while ensuring they earn the trust of the people they are mandated to protect in the campaign against illegal drugs. “Dito papasok ang maayos na kapulisan and other law enforcement agencies,” said Go.
He stressed the importance of having a competent and corruption-free police force and other law enforcement agencies to effectively combat drug syndicates.
Additionally, Go has filed Senate Bill No. 422, which aims to provide free legal assistance to the country’s uniformed personnel, particularly those who have been wrongfully accused.
The second approach aims at rehabilitating drug users. “Karamihan po sa kanila ay biktima lang po. And I also filed a bill which aims to institutionalize a technical vocational education and livelihood program specifically for rehabilitated drug dependents,” Go explained.
Go has proposed Senate Bill No. 428, which aims to establish Drug Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers in every province nationwide. Additionally, SBN 2115 has been filed by the senator to institutionalize a technical-vocational education and training (TVET) and livelihood program designed specifically for rehabilitated drug dependents.
The third approach centers on prevention, particularly among the youth. “Third is prevention, ine-engganyo po natin ang kabataan to get into sports. Isang paraan po yun na ilayo sila sa drugs. Get into sports, stay away from drugs,” Go said.
As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports, Go is advocating for sports-related programs and infrastructure as a means to divert the youth from the lure of addiction and criminality.
As author and co-sponsor of Republic Act No. 11470, Go’s legislativd initiative has led to the establishment of the National Academy of Sports (NAS) at New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac. Developed in coordination with the PSC and the Department of Education, NAS offers a specialized secondary education program focused on sports.
“Pwede silang mag-training, at the same time, mag-aral. Pwede silang mag-aral, at the same time, mag-training. Wala pong masasakripisyo. ‘Yan po ang National Academy of Sports, batas na po at may sariling pasilidad,” he said.
In previous years, he has also been instrumental in securing funding for a variety of world-class sports facilities across the Philippines.
In Luzon, he has backed sports related projects in Rizal, Bulacan, Ifugao, Tarlac, Ilocos Sur, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and key cities in Metro Manila, among others.
In the Visayas, he has supported the development of a Skatepark and Pentathlon Facility in Ormoc City, Leyte, as well as other projects in Cebu, Bohol, and Samar.
In Mindanao, he has been instrumental for the Datu Abdullah Sangki Sports Complex in Maguindanao del Sur, the largest sports complex in South Central Mindanao, the Sarimanok Sports Complex and Marawi Convention Center in Marawi City, and other projects in Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Tawi-Tawi, Davao Oriental, and Davao de Oro.
Go said he believes that sports can help develop not only the physical health but also the moral values and discipline of the youth. He said that he wants to make sports accessible and affordable for all Filipinos, especially those who are marginalized and underprivileged to keep them away from vices like illegal drugs.
Image credits: Albert Calvelo/ Senate PRIB