The ASEAN Training Center for Preventive Drug Education (ATCPDE), through its Director, Prof. Francis Grace H. Duka-Pante, joined the Philippine delegation to the 40th Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD) in Siem Reap, Cambodia on August 27-30, 2019.

The six-member Philippine delegation was headed by Dangerous Drugs Board Executive Director Earl P. Saavedra. The other delegates from DDB were Ms. Rebecca Arambulo (OIC-Chief, Policy, Research and Statistics Division), Ms. Teresita C. Pineda (Chief, Preventive Education, Training and Information Division), and Mr. James Benedict R. Gutierrez (Project Development Officer). Director Maharani G. Tosoc, Director of Plans and Operations Service of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) also joined the group.


The Philippine Delegation to the 40th ASOD Meeting

The annual ASOD meeting aims to consolidate and strengthen collaborative efforts in the prevention and control of the drug problem in the region, share relevant information of common concerns and provide updates on progress made in the implementation of programs in order to realize the goals and targets set in the ASEAN Work Plan on Securing Communities Against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025.

The ASEAN working group sessions convened during the first day. The five working groups were: Preventive Education (chaired by the Philippines); Treatment and Rehabilitation (Malaysia); Law Enforcement (Thailand); Research (Singapore) and Alternative Development (Indonesia).

Six AMS were represented in the Preventive Education Working Group namely, Brunei Darussalam (Mr. Zainidi Amit); Cambodia (Pol. Lt. Gen. Thong Sokunthea, Ms. Chhay Kin Sotheavy, Mr. Lor Sovitchea, Mr. Yuk Sengponceur, Mr. Yin Yoeut,  Ms. Pech Sathaserey, and Mr. Chhim Chamrithy); Indonesia (Ms. Yona Voria Janesia, and Ms. Ratih Frayunita Sari); Philippines (Prof. Francis Grace H. Duka-Pante); Singapore (Mr. Mohd Chusna); and Thailand (Ms. Supodjanee Chutidamrong, and Ms. Weleeporn Sintaiyin).


The Executive Director of the Philippine’s Dangerous Drugs Board, Usec. Earl P. Saavedra, chaired the meeting while delegates from Indonesia prepared the written report. Meanwhile, Prof. Duka-Pante shared the working group meeting highlights and recommendations during the plenary session.


Members of the Preventive Education Working Group

On best practices in prevention, Brunei Darussalam shared its  ‘Pewira’ program  for high-risk secondary school students, cluster program for Years 5 and 9, and SINAR forum program for Year 7; workplace anti-drug briefing and talks, and community-based ‘Awasi Anak Kitani’ program which involves residents and community members. Meanwhile, Cambodia highlighted its initiative to implement sustainable drug education through target-based interventions and allocation of responsibility. Similarly, Indonesia discussed various programs particularly their PDE volunteers in outermost regions, Cegah Narkoba streaming radio, use of convergence media, utilization of the Social Media Center, and the program dubbed as “Desa Bersinar (Drug-free Village).” Similarly, the Philippines discussed its advocacy and capacity-building programs: youth development (such as the Barkada Kontra Droga (Peer Group Against Drugs) program, self-discovery for kids, drug abuse prevention program for senior citizens and the transport groups and workplace-based programs. Various trainings were also conducted for faith-based organizations, local government units’ physicians, police and drug enforcement officers, judges and prosecutors, and prevention practitioners. Moreover, Singapore shared its strategy to attain its Drug-Free SG advocacy through its media campaigns and public events. The Drugfree SG Light up, roadshows, and illustrated book launch were among the activities highlighted. Lastly, Thailand shared their PDE online resources, infographics, and anti-drug animation.

For the significant developments in PDE, the Philippines shared with the working group the following: (1) dissemination of the Universal Prevention   Curriculum for Substance Use (Implementers’ Series) through the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program; (2) Strong Families Program, an evidence-based Family  Skills Program, to be piloted in the Philippines by the UNODC in September 2019; and (3) proposal to conduct a Training on the Development of PDE Monitoring and Evaluation Tools and ASEAN Prevention Standards by 2020 through the ATCPDE.

For other matters, the following were discussed:

  1. Brunei shared a proposal to conduct an anti-drug song competition
  2. Cambodia highlighted the need for sharing of mechanisms to ensure that prevention interventions are effective and sustainable.
  3. Indonesia will continue to develop a national-based religious prevention program through social intervention. Also, Rumah Edukasi  will be in place as an additional channel available to strengthen PDE. The country also reiterates its commitment to strengthen regional cooperation in addressing illicit drug use. Because the country will be hosting the 41st  ASEAN Senior Official Meeting (ASOD) next year, Indonesia seeks the possibility to chair the Working Group on Preventive Education in 2020.
  4. Philippines, through the ATCPDE, invited all the AMS to attend the ASEAN Conference on Global Prevention Practices and Interventions on November 27-29, 2019 in Quezon City, Philippines in connection with the 40th Anniversary of the Center. The ATCPDE Director also requested the AMS to do a final validation of the research data on Substance Use Policies and Programs in the AMS and the Inventory of the PDE IEC Materials in the ASEAN Region.
  5. Singapore encouraged the AMS to share prevention materials online through the ASEAN PDE portal.
  6. Thailand suggested to explore the possibility of developing a common theme for the ASEAN’s celebration of the Anti-Narcotics Day

Prof. Francis Grace Duka-Pante, ATCPDE Director, reported on the Center’s initiatives, particularly the conduct of the Personal and Social Skills Training for 60 high school students from April-November 2018 through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Drug Abuse Prevention Center grant. She also thanked the AMS for all the support, particularly in assisting the research validation team in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar. She further seeks assistance from AMS in the final validation of the baseline survey which included information on tobacco and alcohol use.  She also updated the AMS that in connection with the ATCPDE’s celebration of its 40th Anniversary, the Center will be organizing an ASEAN Conference on November 27-29, 2019.  She invited all AMS to send delegates to the event. She also shared that the results of the two major research projects of the Center: “Substance Use Prevention Policies and Programs among AMS” and the “Inventory of the IEC materials in Preventive Drug Education in the ASEAN Region” will be presented in the Conference.


Usec. Saavedra and Prof. Duka-Pante facilitate the finalization of the working group recommendations

She also thanked all AMS for contributing to the ATCPDE Bulletin 2019 and provided each AMS a hardcopy of the newsletter.

The last part of the discussion was a brainstorming session on the next PDE steps that AMS will take. The working group came up with following recommendations:

  1. Create a whole-of-government approach to integrate Preventive Drug Educationin the anti-drug domestic priorities of each AMS.
  2. Establish a strong reporting, monitoring, and evaluation mechanism to build evidence for prevention practice in the ASEAN.
  3. Strengthen the institutional capacity through training and competency-building activities of stakeholders involved in streamlining and sustaining Preventive Drug Education for various sectors in each AMS.
  4. Appropriate and channel available resources to strengthen PDE and expand priorities under drug demand reduction in the ASEAN
  5. Develop and implement internationally-accepted PDE modalities attuned with geographical, religious, and       socio-cultural contexts of the AMS
  6. Sustain engagements and assistance in data provision and capacity-building activities in support of the ATCPDE.
  7. Promote research on the possible expansion of preventive drug education to address the vulnerabilities of sectors and communities with the support of local and international counterparts.
  8. Sustain engagement and collaboration with the community (including private sector and civil society partners) for better dissemination of PDE messages.

The succeeding days were allotted for the discussion of pertinent issues and engagement with dialogue partners and external parties such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Australian Federal Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency along with countries such the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, India, and Russia. The closing ceremonies’ highlight was the acceptance of Indonesia to host the 41th ASOD in 2020. (vmg.20190903)