Spearheaded by the Commission on Higher Education – Caraga Regional Office (CHED Caraga), the Caraga Higher Education Caravan 2023 successfully conducted its first leg in Butuan City on August 25, 2023 at the Regional Office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Caraga.
The first of what will be three legs in three major cities within the Caraga region, the caravan was conducted as an initiative designed to address critical issues that concern the well-being, safety, and education of Filipino students. This event was carried out in accordance with Executive Order No. 66, series of 2018, known as the “Institutionalizing the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS),” and CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 42, series of 2005, titled “Implementing Guidelines for the Creation of Student Crime Prevention Councils in all Colleges and Universities.”
The caravan was a multi-agency endeavor which was made possible by the partnership of the following Caraga Regional Line Agencies (RLAs) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs): National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), and Northeastern Mindanao State University (NEMSU).
During the caravan, a series of key topics were discussed by focal persons from the various partner agencies:
- Addressing the Drug Menace through ALAB (Adbokasiya Laban sa Iligal na Droga):
PDEA’s ALAB program serves as a frontline strategy in combating the pervasive problem of illegal drug use in the Philippines. The Higher Education Caravan provides a platform to educate students about the dangers of drug abuse and the role they can play in drug prevention.
- Promoting Safety and Vigilance with the BIDA (Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan) Program:
DILG’s BIDA program focuses on community safety and vigilance. By integrating this topic into the caravan, students can learn how to protect themselves and their communities from criminal activities, including drug-related issues.
- Understanding the Role of Law Enforcement in Society:
The Philippine National Police (PNP) plays a crucial role in maintaining law and order. A session on the role of law enforcement helps students appreciate the importance of cooperation with authorities and adherence to the law.
- National Security Awareness through NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency):
NICA’s briefing on national security awareness provides students with insights into the broader context of security challenges. This knowledge empowers them to be informed citizens who can contribute to the nation’s safety and well-being.
- Fostering Student-Led Crime Prevention through the Student Crime Prevention Committee Officer’s Oath Taking:
The oath-taking ceremony for Student Crime Prevention Council officers signifies the commitment of student leaders to create a safe and secure campus environment. This is a pivotal step in engaging students in the process of crime prevention.
Attending the one-day activity were student government officers together with their faculty advisers from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Agusan Del Norte and Agusan Del Sur. The following HEIs were in attendance:
• Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU)
• Caraga State University Main Campus (CSU Main)
• Butuan Doctors College (BDC)
• Caraga Institute of Technology (CIT)
• Caraga State Cabadbaran Campus (CSUCC)
• Northern Mindanao Colleges (NORMI)
• Northwestern Agusan Colleges (NAC)
• Saint Michael College of Caraga (SMCC)
• Agusan Del Sur College (ADSCO)
• Mt. Carmel College of San Francisco (MCC)
• Southway College of Technology (SOCOTECH)
• ACLC College of Butuan (ACLC)
• Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT)
• Caraga School of Business (CSB)
The caravan will also be brought to Surigao City and Tandag City for its second and third leg, respectively.
The Caraga Higher Education Caravan 2023 aimed to address critical issues facing Filipino students, from drug abuse prevention to safety awareness and civic responsibility. By conducting this caravan, the Commission on Higher Education fulfills its commitment to the holistic development and well-being of students while contributing to the broader goals of education and national progress.