MANILA - The Department of Education is calling for support for the government's campaign against illegal drugs following the gruesome killing of two students by a drug addict in Siquijor recently.
In a statement, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said the department is strengthening its National Drug Education Program (NDEP) which creates age-appropriate awareness among students as early as the age of nine.
"This is DepEd's continuous commitment to prevent drug use and abuse among learners and to curb the many drug-related incidents in the country," Briones said.
Nikki Piñero, a 21-year-old special education student at the Silliman University, and her friend, Lorraine Ramirez, 27, were stabbed dead by Michael Manayon.
The victims' boyfriends and the suspect were participants in an international longboard competition in a resort in Siquijor.
Briones, a former chairperson of the Silliman University's Board of Trustees, said Piñero was an only daughter of Silliman faculty member Prof. Dionesio Piñero.
The suspect originally targeted Ramirez's boyfriend but he vented his anger at the women when he could not find him.
"While much attention has been placed on the human rights of drug users, pushers, and financiers, not much focus was given to the victims and their families whose lives were destroyed as a result of the careless, mindless, and selfish choices of these addicts," Briones said.
The education secretary likewise called on various sectors of the society to join hands for the sake of all victims.
"Heinous and horrific crimes such as this do not have a place in a country that seeks to protect and promote the welfare of its people, much more preserve the lives of the innocent," she said.