Manila, June 5, 2023—On May 31, the United States government supported the launch of the Engage, Emerge, and Empower Project (3E Project), a program that will enhance the quality of drug prevention education at public high schools in four cities.
In the coming months, 3E Project implementors will carry out various activities that will protect the health and well-being of students through drug prevention education. The program will also empower student leaders and campus organizations to initiate drug prevention policies and activities in their respective schools.
The pilot implementation of the 3E Project will begin in 20 public high schools in Cavite City, Makati, Puerto Princesa, and Quezon City, and will later expand to all public high schools in the four target cities.
The 3E Project was conceptualized by a group of Filipino experts who participated in the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program, the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP).
During the launch, representatives from the Department of Education (DepEd), the University of Philippines Los Baños College of Human Ecology, and local leaders from the four cities signed a Pledge of Commitment to support the activities of the 3E Project.
To begin work on the 3E Project, the U.S. Embassy’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) funded a workshop from May 31 to June 2 where 40 subject matter experts developed strategies and action plans to make drug prevention education in public high schools more effective. These plans include conceptualizing new drug prevention strategies for teachers; proposing revisions to DepEd’s drug prevention education curriculum; and engaging the youth in increasing awareness and sharing best practices in drug prevention through their student councils and campus organizations.
Six technical working groups carried out initial work to design drug prevention learning modules that will be finalized at a “writeshop” to be hosted by the Quezon City government later in the year.
Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Secretary Dexter Galban thanked the United States government and local stakeholders for their joint efforts to curb drug use among the youth. “There are 222,000 drug users aged 10 to 24 in the country. Through programs like the 3E Project, we are able to help form learners who are more resilient to combatting the lure of illegal drugs.”
“It is crucial to create a supportive environment for our youth and work together to educate and support the youth, and provide them with the resources they need to make positive choices,” Quezon City government Chief of Staff Rowena Macatao said in remarks delivered on behalf of Mayor Joy Belmonte.
INL Director Kelia Cummins emphasized the critical nature of youth participation in anti-drug abuse policy and program development. “The 3E Project leverages the power of young adults to advance the work of practitioners and support individuals in recovery, their families, and communities. This results in a necessary and holistic approach to address drug use among the youth.”
Support for drug prevention is part of INL’s broader drug demand reduction program in the Philippines, designed to improve awareness, augment use of preventive measures, and engage multi-sectoral stakeholders in recovery and reintegration efforts for persons with substance use disorders.
Learn more about the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and its global drug demand reduction programs at www.state.gov/j/inl.