CNMI officials stepped up their campaign against illegal drugs by aggressively educating the youth of its effects. This was among the activities lined up in this year’s 2016 Red Ribbon Campaign Celebration here in the Commonwealth.
The celebration kicked off Thursday with acting governor Victor B. Hocog signing a proclamation declaring Oct. 23 to 31 as National Red Ribbon Week. Present at the Governor’s Office conference room were U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and CNMI Alicia A.G. Limtiaco, U.S. District Court for the CNMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona, and other law enforcement agencies.
A roadside waving and wear red day was also held Friday at the intersection near the Marianas Visitors Authority. This year’s theme was “YOLO or You Only Live Once: Be Drug Free” that was coined by Kristopher Oakes and Loagan Brehm, a pair of sixth graders at Claysburg-Kimmel Elementary School in Claysburg, Pennsylvania.
Manglona said education and outreach is part of their program in promoting a drug-free community. “We are reaching out to the community as our service. We addressed the alternative education students at [Marianas High School]. We’re also going to visit other elementary, middle, and high schools to promote the YOLO and drug-free spirit,” said Manglona.
Limtiaco said their school visits would go beyond October. “This is part of our commitment to the CNMI community. We have visited some schools like last Tuesday we went to Chacha Oceanview Middle School where we spoke to more 150 students.”
She said they also met with those under the CNMI alternative education program with Tanapag Middle School part of their schedule along with other elementary, middle, and high schools.
“Our commitment does not end there and we will schedule school visits even after October. We will reach out to other schools and talk to them,” said Limtiaco, who added that A.J. Mettao and Robin Sablan are helping them with the educational talks.
Hocog said in one way or another illegal drugs have affected and touched everyone’s lives, with some having a family member or friends who were influenced or became drug dependent. He spoke based on experience after his son became a drug dependent.
“This situation I experienced gave me sleepless nights. My heart cries in this situation. It is very difficult as a parent since I am concerned about my own son, who became involved in this kind of activity. I was worried about his livelihood, welfare, and future,” said Hocog.
For more information or those who wanted to have their school visited, call Mae Blas at (671) 4794144 or (671) 9893186.