Narcs take fight vs illegal drugs to tribal folk

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MANILA, Philippines—The drug menace may be more prevalent among city dwellers, but indigenous people need to be warned about its dangers, too.

Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have taken their campaign against illegal drugs to an Aeta community in Mabalacat, Pampanga, in a two-pronged program—an antidrug lecture and a medical-dental mission.

On April 27, the PDEA visited the Aeta neighborhood in Barangay Haduan in collaboration with a medical team from the Philippine Air Force and the Confederation of Community Oriented Policing System NGOs.

“This is part of our effort to promote the antidrug advocacy to members of indigenous groups to protect them from being victimized by unscrupulous drug syndicates,” said PDEA Director General Jose S. Gutierrez Jr.

In a statement on Saturday, Gutierrez said the program included bringing basic medical and dental services to indigenous communities.

From there, he said, they take the opportunity to share with them the agency’s antidrug advocacy.

Free services during the outreach included medical checkups, dental extractions and circumcision, courtesy of a Philippine Air Force medical team led by Col. Rellie V. Francisco, assistant chief of staff for civil military operations.

The PDEA Preventive Education and Community Involvement Service personnel under Director Wilkins Villanueva supervised the distribution of medicine to beneficiaries.

While the medical and dental consultation and treatment were ongoing, an interactive antidrug lecture was conducted by members of the PDEA Region III office under Director Roybel Sanchez.

Members of the Aeta community also received 150 sacks of used clothing, bags, books, shoes and bed sheets, PDEA said.

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