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Reformed drug user’s advice: 'Don’t you dare try'

PAGADIAN CITY (PIA) — Bogs (not his real name) is a former drug user in the province of Zamboanga del Sur. He advises everyone, especially young people, to refrain from engaging in drug use due to its detrimental effects on one's life.

“Sa mga nanggamit, mas maayo muundang na ug sa mga batan-on, ug mahimo maglikay gyud nga di muentra sa mga binuang kay walay maayung epekto ug ikatabang sa kinabuhi ang droga (For those who have used [drugs], it is better to stop now, and for the youth, it is advisable to avoid engaging in any form of recklessness as drugs have no positive effects and do not contribute to a better life),” Bogs said.

Bogs found himself entangled in drugs when he was between the ages of 20 to 25, succumbing to the influence of people he considered as friends. 

Peer pressure led him to continue and even escalate his substance abuse. This pattern extended to his work life, as he began relying on drugs during long drives.

During this period, Bogs, still single but still living with his family, spent a significant portion of his income to buy drugs, leaving him unable to contribute to household bills and expenses. The toll of substance abuse also manifested in persistent fatigue and drowsiness, resulting in his impatience, rudeness, and heightened irritability.

Recognizing the detrimental effects of drug abuse, he made a firm decision to quit. 

Although challenging, he took a significant step in 2016 by voluntarily surrendering to the police. 

With the support of his barangay captain, he was enrolled in a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) program and successfully completed the National Certificate Level II (NC2) in welding, which secured him a steady income after his rehabilitation.

Now 34 years old and already married with his own children, Bogs expressed that the peace he currently enjoys, along with his newfound family, is his greatest victory since deciding to quit drugs.

“Dako kaayu ug kabag-uhan. Wala nay babag sa kasingkasing kay wala nay kinahanglan itago. Mura ko ug nakabuhi sa hawla (It's a huge transformation. There's no longer a barrier in the heart because I have nothing to hide. I feel like I've been set free),” Bogs said.

Further, he stated that it was challenging to give up vices and change because it was during this time that temptation hovered around him. However, he steered clear of his old circle of friends; he no longer hang out with or join them. Instead, he has focused solely on his work.

“If ibutang gyud nimo sa imong hunahuna na magbag-o ka, wala gyud impossible (If you truly set your mind to change, nothing is impossible),” he said.

DILG-9 Assistant Regional Director Engr. Carmelo Enrique B. Libot gives an update on the implementation of the BIDA Program on the radio program Kapihan sa Philippine Information Agency ug DXPR.

Bogs are among the former substance users under the monitoring of local government units, with the support of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). 

The DILG spearheads the anti-drug campaign under the current administration known as the 'Buhay Ingatan, Droga'y Ayawan (BIDA) program.

BIDA calls for the support of local government units, partner government agencies, local stakeholders, and organizations, as well as the community, to effectively advocate drug demand reduction in all sectors of the community.

“Ang mga tawo kung magtinabangay, there are many things that we could achieve (When people collaborate, there are many things that we could achieve,)” DILG-9 Assistant Regional Director Carmelo B. Libot stressed.

DILG-9 actively participates in the Barangay Drug Clearing Program, contributing to the capacity-building of barangays by assisting in the preparation of  the necessary documents for verification to determine if they meet the criteria for being declared drug-cleared barangays.

The Barangay Drug Clearing Program is designed to combat and eradicate illegal drug activities at the grassroots level. It is an integral component of the nationwide government initiative against illegal drugs. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) leads the implementation of the program.

In December 2023, PDEA reported that out of the 1,904 barangays in the Zamboanga Peninsula, a total of 1,389 had been declared drug-cleared. Additionally, 115 barangays are considered drug-unaffected, leaving a total of 400 barangays that remain affected.

DILG-9, in collaboration with other government agencies, aims for the declaration of drug-cleared barangays for the remaining 400 barangays by the end of 2024. (RVC/EDT/CCP/PIA9)

About the Author

Clennkei Peñalosa

Information Officer

Region 9

Clennkei C. Peñalosa is a member of the Subanen Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) who earn a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and is currently pursuing her Juris Doctor degree. A content creator and writer, she writes news and feature stories in Zamboanga Peninsula and manages PIA9's social media platforms.

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