By Eric Borromeo

The general’s battle cry is “Pamilya Mo, Ipaglalaban Ko!”

When we got an invitation to have a chat with Gen. Dionisio Santiago, in all honesty, we are clueless who he is at the time we got the call from a friend. We might have heard of his name, but it has already slipped our mind.
Of course, we were surprised when we finally came face to face with Gen. Santiago – the Gen. Santiago4-Star general and the former chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), who has had his share of controversies during his tenure in the said government agency.
Gen. Santiago is running for the senate in the coming May elections. But it took him some time to decide about it, and a bit of prodding from friends and families who are more than willing to give him full support.
But that decision was also strengthened by his long battle with the ever increasing drug problem in the country.
We opted not to dwell on his illustrious past, there is always the ever dependable Google to learn about them. We delved in the topic he is most familiar with – illegal drugs.
“When I was the chief of PDEA, bumaba n aang percentage ng ilegal na droga sa bansa. Pero ngayon, hindi lang dumoble, talagang talamak na. It is no longer abnormally high, parang naging norm na!” started Gen. Dionisio.

“This is not just a local problem, this is an international big money business, kaya mahirap na talagang sugpuin. Paano natin mapipigilan ito? By prevention,” he added.

If drug addiction cannot be eradicated totally, the first step to prevent someone from being dependent in illegal drugs is by surrounding and showering him with love and care, especially from his family.
“Magsisimula ang lahat ng yan sa pamilya. Marami na akong nakausap na drug addicts na ang root cause ng addiction nila ay dahil kulang sila sa pagmamahal at aruga ng pamilya nila.
“May mayayaman na akala mo ang ayos nang pamilya, pero may mga anak sila na drug addicts. Bakit? Wala na kasi silang oras sa mga ito para man lang ma-check hindi lang yung materyal na pangangailangan nila, pati na rin yung emotional.
“Kulang sa pagmamahal ang karamihan sa mga nagdodroga. Mahirap din yung minsan e sobra-sobra ang naibibigay nating pera sa mga anak natin, tapos kulang sa guidance naman. Nandiyan ang peer pressure din. Napapasama sa mga masasamang barkada. Pinatikim ng isa, hindi na napigilan.
“Malaking bagay din kung bakit nalululong ang isang tao sa droga ay yung denial mismong pamilya niya. Alam nila na nangyayari na yun pero pinagtatakpan pa rin nila,” explained the general.
The former officer also revealed that during his tenure in PDEA there are already big names involved in illegal drugs – both as users and pushers. He mentioned several known names, especially celebrities, who were in PDEA’s watch list. Some are still very much active in their respective careers.
“May mga pulitiko rin, nandiyan pa rin sila. Hindi na ako updated masyado kung nagbago na sila. Of course, may mga nahuli kami noon na naibalita naman.
“Sa showbiz, nakakalungkot lang na nasisira talaga ang career ng mga nalululong sa droga. Nawawala sila. Nakakalungkot lang din na role model silang mga fans nila. Kung ano ang ginagawa nila, minsan yun ang ginagayang mga tagahanga nila,” said Gen. Santiago.
Rehabilitation is not a guarantee that a drug addict will be cured of his addiction, according to the general.
“Kung rehabilitation, mas maganda yung voluntary rehabilitation. Mahirap kasi na pilitin ang ayaw. Babalik at babalik lang yan sa bisyo niya,” he said.
“A drug addict will always be a drug addict. Pag ang droga umabot na sa utak at nasira na ito, wala na talaga siyang pag-asa. Para na siyang living dead.
“Kaya kung may kinakasama ka na drug addict, mag-isip-isip ka na. Pag inabot niya na ang point of no return sa droga, yung sira na ang utak niya, habang buhay mo na yang aasikasuhin,” warned Gen. Santiago.
“I strongly believe lahat ng mga masasamang nangyayari can be prevented kung magsisimula tayo sa pamilya natin. At ang drug addiction ang talagang tututukan natin ng husto kung mabibigyan tayo ng pagkakataon sa senado,” Gen. Santiago he stressed

As a candidate, Gen. Santiago is running as independent, but he is endorsed by presidential aspirant Davao Mayor Rudy Duterte. ” Pareho kasi halos ang plataporma namin, Peace and Order. Kailangan natin palakasin ito dahil kailangang kailangan ito sa ngayon ng ating bansa.” The General ended.

 

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