The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) rescued 20 minors from the streets of Quezon City last night, September 15, 2011.
The “rescue” operation was conducted by PDEA in coordination and collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Quezon City Local Government through its Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC), and Quezon City Police District.
PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez, Jr. said that last night’s “rescue” operation aims to remove minors from the streets where they are exposed to illegal activities like prostitution, gambling, robbery and drug trade.
According to Gutierrez, the rescued street-children were brought to the covered court inside Camp Karingal where DSWD social workers were waiting to provide counseling. They were then transferred to PDEA National Headquarters in Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City where they were fed and temporarily given shelter for the night. With the written consent of parents, PDEA chemists conducted drug test on rescued street-children, most of them admitted to sniffing “rugby”.
Representatives from DOH administered medical and drug dependence examination on the rescued children as basis for appropriate referral by social workers and ADACs to rehabilitation centers. Rescued children who are residents of Quezon City shall be referred to Tahanan Rehabilitation Center which is managed by Quezon City ADAC, while others shall be referred to the NGO-managed Fabella Children’s Care Center in Quezon City, or Camp Bagong Diwa Rehabilitation Center under DOH.
“The presence of representatives from CHR ensured that the street-children were not deprived of their basic rights during the rescue operation,” Gutierrez said.
The PDEA Chief said this is not the first or the last operation that PDEA will conduct to rescue street-children. Aside from the active collaboration between PDEA and all the agencies involved in the rescue operation, Gutierrez also emphasized the important role of parents in keeping these children off the streets.
“The parents, as head of the basic unit of society, must be responsible for starting anti-drug awareness and prevention in the family,” Gutierrez concluded. Evangeline DJ Almenario, Chief, Public Information Office, Philippine Drug Enforment Agency (PDEA)