[Davao City, Philippines] The Commission on Higher Education Regional Office XI (CHED RO XI) and the Office of Student Development and Services (OSDS) CHED Central Office hosted the 2-day Workshop on the Development of Drug-Free Learning Institutions: Roadmap for Higher Education – Mindanao Cluster. The event took place at the Grand Menseng Hotel, Davao City, on June 27-28, 2023.

The event wants to bring together the diverse group of Guidance Counselors and Student Affairs Directors from the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Mindanao and develop the strategies to effectively address illegal drug-related concerns in higher education and in the entire Philippines. With a shared vision to create safe, healthy, and drug-free learning environments, the participants engaged themselves in a series of productive discussions, sharing of best practices, and exploration of innovative strategies to address the issues on illegal drugs.

Dedicated leaders, proactive experts, and experienced professionals in the development of drug-free spaces shared their knowledge and expertise to inspire and guide the participants as they work collaboratively in crafting a comprehensive roadmap geared towards the development of drug-free learning institutions that are conducive to learning, personal growth, and professional development of students, faculty, and all stakeholders. Ms. Cyntia Q. Hernandez presented the overview and updates on CHED implementation of PADS for higher education. Prof. Francis Grace H. Duka-Pante shared key points of the project – “Evidence-Based School Substance Use, Prevention, Interventions, and Understanding the Root Causes and Factors Associated with Drug Use Among Higher Education Students.” Dr. Edna Gladys Calingacion, Dr. Lorina Paranada Bundang, and Mr. Jun L. Tayaben facilitated the four (4) workshops of the event on PADS for Higher Education.

Dr. Maricar R. Casquejo, CHED RO XI Director IV, warmly welcomed over 300 participants from the different HEIs in Mindanao. She shared with the participants the importance of their collective efforts in the realization of a drug-free higher education institutions in Mindanao and in the entire country. Undersecretary Earl P. Saavedra, Dangerous Drug Board Executive Director, shared their commitment to stamping out the illicit supply of and demand for dangerous drugs and to the promotion of regional and international cooperation in drug abuse prevention and control. Atty. Cinderella Filipina S. Benitez-Jaro, CHED Executive Director IV, presented the statement of purpose of the event. And Dr. Marivic V. Iriberri, CHED OSDS OIC, Office of the Director III, gave the closing message and thanked the participants for their commitment and efforts in the development of the roadmap geared towards the promotion and creation of drug-free higher education institutions.