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At least 200 students from different colleges and universities all over the country gathered in Cebu City on 29-31 March 2016 for the 3-day national convention on drug abuse prevention education spearheaded by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in coordination with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the non-government organization, Association of Advocates Against Drugs or A3D.

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With the theme “Leveling-up College Campus Leaders’ Engagement on Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign,” the convention aims to heighten the involvement of college student leaders who have become partners of the DDB in pursuing drug prevention programs in schools and campuses nationwide.

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Officials and representatives of the DDB and its partner agencies graced the opening ceremonies and gave their respective messages.

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Dr. Adelaida Fronda, A3D President, officially welcomed the delegates to the National Convention.

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The Governor of the Province of Cebu, Honorable Hilario Davide III, sent his greetings through Coun. Carmen Remedios Duran-Meca. Cebu is well-represented in the convention with student leaders from different campuses of Cebu Technological University and University of the Philippines Cebu.

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The Commission on Higher Education was represented by Engr. Ronaldo A. Liveta, Officer-In-Charge of the Office of Student Development and Services. The National Youth Commission, on the other hand, was represented by Asec. Earl P. Saavedra, Commissioner representing Mindanao.

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"You know, more than we ever will, the pressures that the Filipino youth is facing now. We can only suggest means for you to keep free from drugs, but we cannot force your commitment. That will be your call. What we will be asking of you is that you choose well, the choice that you will be proud and thankful to have chosen." - Secratary Felipe L. Rojas, Jr., DDB Chairman, addressed the delegates of the convention.

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Shabu remains to be the top drug of abuse in the country. Assistant Regional Director Wardley M. Getalla of PDEA Region VII discussed the national drug situation.

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The first day ended with the participants’ pledge of commitment to the anti-drug fight.

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Students from Cebu Technological University performed an original song entitled, “Drugs is not the answer.” Another song for the convention, “Pagbangon” was composed by students from First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities in Tanauan, Batangas. (Check-out the songs on the DDB YouTube channel)

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Day two of the convention started with a morning exercise and energizer.

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Ms. Ella Marie L. Dimaculangan, Officer-In-Charge of the Media Affairs and Public Relations Unit of the DDB, oriented the participants on the National Anti-Drug Plan of Action and their role in its implementation.

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Yohanes Paruntu, a student leader from Adventist University of the Philippines in Silang, Cavite, shared a personal experience on how peers can influence one to stay drug-free.

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Student leaders from Cebu Technological University (CTU) - Carmen Campus and De La Salle University (DLSU), Manila share their respective school's Drug Abuse Prevention Education practices. In partnership with the police, CTU regularly conducts drug awareness seminars for students. DLSU implements several drug prevention activities in line with their program dubbed as "La Salle's Fight Against Drugs."

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New Drug Abuse Prevention Education Ambassadors were also identified during the convention. (from left to right) Arvin Gabriel Natividad, De La Salle university; Faith Rodriguez, Cebu Technological University - Main Campus; Florence Troy Wasawas, Cebu Technological University - Main Campus; Jauzz Edera, Cebu Technological University - Moal Boal Campus; Raymond Loreto, Father Saturnino Urios University; and Rica Justo, Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology.

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The convention of college student leaders concluded with a "pinning ceremony." Delegates proudly wear the badge signifying their strong stand against drugs.

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The delegates of the National Convention of College Student Leaders on Drug Abuse Prevention Education. Among the participating schools were Adventist University of the Philippines, Silang, Cavite; Cagayan State University; Cebu Technological University; Central Mindanao University; De La Salle University, Manila; Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology; First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities; Father Saturnino Urios University, Butuan; University of Bohol; University of the Philippines Cebu; University of the Philippines Los Baños; University of Sto. Tomas; University of South Eastern Philippines, Davao; Far Eastern University, Manila; Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila; Surigao del Sur State University; Notre Dame of Jolo College; and Bohol Island State University.