The provisions of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, have been translated into the Cebuano dialect by the Regional Trial Court Branch 36, one of two designated drugs court in Negros Oriental.
Presiding Judge Joseph Elmaco of RTC Branch 36 proposed the reproduction of the booklet, with 91 pages, so provisions of RA 9165 can be understood fully by the people, especially barangay officials.
However, the Cebuano version could not be shared with the barangays and students who are the most vulnerable to illegal drugs due to monetary constraints.
Elmaco initiated the translation with the help of court employee Felomino Gonzales Jr., and sought the help of local government units, including Dumaguete City, and the police in having the booklet printed and distributed to the barangays, the schools, and police stations.
Elmaco said he believes many barangay officials are not fully aware of the provisions of RA 9165, particularly Section 21, where their presence is required during the inventory of confiscated illegal drugs and paraphernalia and that they are also required to witness search warrants, and can be administratively charged for refusing to do so.
Meanwhile, Elmaco said prosecution alone is not a solution to the drugs problem. He said even in the most advance countries, like the America, the problem continues to be widespread.
This is because of poverty, and those involved resort to a desperate alternative in order to survive, he added.
In Dumaguete, there is a high incidence of unemployment, and poverty is prevalent in the barangays that have been identified as hotspots for illegal drugs.
It is high time that local government units address the problem head-on, Elmaco said. He also suggested the organization of an association of skilled workers, such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and masons.
The government, through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, should provide skills training so that those trained will use their skills for legal work, instead of selling illegal drugs, Elmaco added.*JG
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