The ASEAN Training Center for Preventive Drug Education (ATCPDE) through its Director, Prof. Francis Grace H. Duka-Pante, joined the Philippine delegation to the 37th Meeting of ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD) in Bangkok, Thailand on August 24-27, 2016.

The Philippine Delegation to the 37th ASOD Meeting
The Philippine Delegation to the 37th ASOD Meeting


The eight-member Philippine delegation was headed by Undersecretary Rommel Garcia, Dangerous Drugs Board's Permanent Member. The other delegates were Usec. Benjamin P. Reyes (DDB Deputy Executive Director for Operations), Mr. Amador S. Pabustan (OIC-DDB Secretariat and Deputy Executive Director for Administration) Ms. Teresita C. Pineda (Chair, DDB's Preventive Education, Training and Information Division), Ms. Corazon P. Mamigo, (OIC-Chair, DDB's Research and Development Division), and Mr. Isidro S. Lapeña, (Director-General, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) and PDEA Director Mr. Emerson R. Rosales.

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 Plan of Action.

The meeting proper started with the transfer of chairmanship from Singapore to Thailand, followed by the statement of the head of delegations and presentation of country reports. The afternoon session started with a discussion on the new ASEAN Work Plan followed by updates on the outcomes of ASOD meetings. The last part was reports on completed and on-going projects. Prof. Pante reported the successful conduct on October 5-9, 2015 of the Life Skills Training for Preventive Drug Education (PDE) Implementers in the ASEAN Region facilitated by the ATCPDE through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

The second day commenced with a discussion on the new tagline for ASEAN's efforts in the fight against drugs. Members States agreed that the tagline be "Securing ASEAN Communities Against Illicit Drugs."

The delegates were then divided into 5 working groups: Preventive Education (chaired by Indonesia); Treatment and Rehabilitation (Malaysia); Law Enforcement (Thailand); Research (Singapore) and Alternative Development (Indonesia).

Usec. Rommel L. Garcia, Prof. Francis Grace H. Duka-Pante and Ms. Teresita C. Pineda represented the Philippines to the preventive education working group. Among the participants were Ms. Audrey Ayesha Abdul-Azeen-Lo (Brunei); Eva Fitri Yuanita and Ms. Maya Diani (Indonesia); Mr. Phetdavone Keosomphumee (Lao PDR); Aye Aye Mon Oo (Myanmar); Ms. Gillian Ong and Ms. Nio Yin Ying (Singapore); Ms. Supodjanee Chutidamrong (Thailand) and Mr. Huang Anit Tuyen (Vietnam). Mr. Ali Johardi from Indonesia chaired the meeting and Ms. Pineda served as the rapporteur. Cambodia and Malaysia did not send a representative to the working group.

The Members of the Preventive Education Working Group
The Members of the Preventive Education Working Group


The first part of the discussion focused on sharing of preventive education efforts among ASEAN Member States. Majority of which targeted the various sectors of society across the developmental stages with particular attention to the most vulnerable group: the youth. Activities carried ranged from capacity-building initiatives, advocacies, exhibitions, competitions, organizations of youth and parent groups, interactive activities, and integration of drug prevention concepts to the development of information, education, and communication (IEC) materials and the utilization of social media and electronic billboard displays.

In the afternoon, ATCPDE was given an opportunity to report on the actions taken by the Center, progress achieved and on-going projects in collaboration with the ASEAN Member States. Prof. Pante shared the following:

  • Conduct of the Life Skills Training for PDE Implementers in the ASEAN Region last October 5-9, 2015 in Manila, Philippines
  • On-going research entitled "Case Study on ASEAN Members States: Policies and Programs on Drug Use Prevention"
  • ASEAN Conference on Drug Use Prevention International Standards on December 5-7, 2016 in Manila, Philippines

Prof. Pante also presented a new proposal entitled "ASEAN Training on Monitoring and Evaluation of Preventive Drug Education Programs." The body agreed to recommend it for the approval of the ASEAN Member States (AMS) during the plenary session.

The second 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. Adopt the use of the green and white anti-drug ribbon as a common symbol for preventive education activities and campaigns against drugs among AMS.
  2. Continue to share experiences and best practices on PDE among AMS.
  3. Develop PDE strategies and programs that are aligned to the ASEAN Work Plan on Securing Communities Against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025.
  4. Continue to actively support AMS initiatives on PDE.
  5. The Philippines will chair the PDE Working Group next year.

Before the end of the meeting, Prof. Pante invited all the ASEAN member states to send their representatives to the Conference in Manila, Philippines on December 5-7, 2016 and to help the Center by validating the data for the baseline survey. She also gave everyone a copy of the ATCPDE Newsletter for 2016.