By Batas Mauricio
IF President Duterte wasn’t able to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs even if the first three years of his term as the undisputed leader of the country have already lapsed, using a deadly and truly harsh campaign against the scourge even, it is at once evident and clear that Vice President Robredo will not be able to solve the problem too, during the six-month period given to her by the President.
The President’s own failure to curb the country’s problem on illegal drugs, notwithstanding his use of harsh measures, can only mean one thing—solving this malady of gargantuan proportions using the tactics already utilized or employed by the President or authorized by law has proven to be useless and inutile. A new approach has to be crafted against drugs, and this is what everyone—including the President and the Vice President—should be seriously thinking about.
We have to pay attention to the truth that illegal drugs continue to proliferate simply because of the huge financial rewards that those dealing with it are reaping. And this nefarious trade gives rise to handsome monetary benefits simply because there are many Filipinos deeply addicted to illegal drugs then and now. I have been told that what is at stake here is an annual take of trillions of pesos give or take a few billions.
That having been said, any plan or any course of action against illegal drugs in the country should of necessity try to deal likewise with some strategies as to how to stop Filipinos from using illegal drugs. Indeed, if there are going to be no users or abusers of drugs, no one will be buying the substance anymore. And when no one is going to buy, nobody but nobody is going to sell. Case closed! It is as simple as that.
The question, however, is this: what must we do to keep our countrymen from the abusing or using of drugs? There are plenty of things we can do, but I submit that the primary step that needed to be made is the re-shaping of the thought patterns of every single Filipino (most especially the youth of today), so they could be guided back to God via the sustained teaching of His great love for mankind.
There must be an honest-to-goodness effort to plant in the minds of fellow Filipinos, young and old alike, single or married, that God’s love for us is so great that He came down to earth from heaven, in human likeness and form with flesh and blood, and accepted in His holy flesh, holy blood, and in His Holy Spirit, the penalty that man is destined suffer because of his sinfulness.
We should endeavor to inspire our people with the truth that God Himself came to earth, and that He came here and allowed His flesh to be stripped from His bones, and His blood to be spilled on dry ground, and His Spirit to separate from his earthly flesh, to make sure that those who believe and have faith in Him will have a successful and prosperous life, their sins forgiven, and are assured of their slots in Paradise, in the presence of God, in eternal life.
We must fill our minds with the power of God to respond to all our needs daily. Our consciousness must always be reminded that God is ever-ready to give in to our petitions, prayers, and requests, if we will only faithfully listen to Him and obey His commands every minute of our lives.
We must stop our long-running and lengthy separation from the Word of God, the Bible. We should strive to go back to the Bible, sincerely obeying the commands written in its verses. That and nothing else would be the magic formula that would enable our countrymen to wring themselves away from dangerous and sinful acts, like addiction to drugs. We should try this, while there is still time. All of us are loved ever so dearly by God, and that is the truth we can hold on to and live by every day!
End polio now and forever. Filipino Rotarians (or the members of Rotary International, or RI, who are providing service to the poor and the needy from the Philippines) proved, once more, that they have hearts filled with the desire and the resolve to help our countrymen in every way they can, particularly in the poor citizens’ fight to keep themselves and their babies and other children free from the internationally dreaded and debilitating disease known as polio.
Under the able leadership of Governor Liza Vicencio Elorde of RI District 3810, Rotarians acted in unison to dispense free oral polio vaccine among the children of families squeezed into very small spaces in Tondo.
In a statement coming from Elorde while she was herself administering the polio vaccine to Tondo kids, she clarified that Rotarians from District 3810 who are serving with her for Rotary 2019-2020 decided to immediately launch and implement their anti-polio campaign after the Department of Health (DOH) sounded an alarm in September that polio, an illness which was declared as having been erased from the Philippines some 20 years ago, reared its ugly head in the country once more today, particularly in Mindanao and Manila.
According to data available from the Department of Health (DOH) and Rotary International (RI), the campaign to rid the Philippines of polio was crowned a success 20 or so years ago, thanks to the joint efforts by Rotarians and by the government through the DOH. During those days, polio was a much-feared disease because it can kill both young and old people alike, or can maim them for the rest of their lives. Filipino Rotarians pooled their resources and started fighting polio among their countrymen.
When the leaders of Rotary International in America saw the success of the Filipino Rotarians’ campaign against polio, they decided to make the campaign international, by directing the 30,000 or so Rotary Clubs around the world to imitate the Filipinos’ anti-polio efforts. This prompted many concerned and civic-spirited men and women and institutions of the world to join the fight, even if they were not Rotarians. Among these people and institutions are the billionaire-couple, Bill and Melissa Gates, and their Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, which came to be donating an annual contribution of at least US$250 million to Rotary’s polio fund.
The international campaign against polio likewise proved highly successful for Rotary International, as was in the Philippines. Many countries managed to rid their boundaries of polio and this success prevented polio from inflicting its harm on many people, prompting a huge expression of worldwide gratitude. This was the case with the Philippines, up until last September 2019, when DOH broke the news that polio has resurrected and has afflicted some Filipinos again in Mindanao and Manila.
Fighting polio has become one of the pilot endeavors of Rotary International District 3810 under Elorde. In fact, even prior to the news that polio has returned to the Philippines, Governor Liza made it a priority of her leadership to entice Rotarians under her to support Rotary’s anti-polio campaign by giving more contributions to the “End Polio” campaign. I know this for a fact because I am serving as her senior deputy governor.
The polio campaign Elorde launched assumed into something more than a “so-so” program. She called her District 3810’s campaign as “End Polio Now and Forever.” Liza explained that this “now and forever campaign” simply meant that District 3810 would exert all its efforts to assure that polio is completely eradicated in, and will not return to, the Philippines.
And this is not going to be some kind of an “impossible dream” or a “mission impossible.” This is because she is being joined here by the Department of Health, through its Assistant Secretary (and is concurrently one of District 3810’s assistant governors) Dr. Eric Tayag, a well-known and well-loved DOH official; by District Executive Secretary Eric Candidato, and all the champion presidents of the 108 Clubs under the District. What then can we say about this? Thank God, and mabuhay!
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