Drug offenders’ Balay Silangan in Danao to open in November
The first reform center for drug offenders in Central Visayas will be opening its doors by November.
Cebu Provincial Anti Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO) chief Carmen Remedios Durano-Meca said Balay Silangan, a collaborative project of the provincial government and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will soon be operational in Barangay Guinsay, Danao City.
“On October 26 and 27, we will have our first schedule of training for the interventionists in Danao city who will run the Balay Silangan. The training will be in Hagnaya, San Remigio. It will be a 2-day training for the instruction and operation manual of the Balay Silangan,” said Durano-Meca. The training will be facilitated by CPADAO and PDEA.
Balay Silangan program will be a four-month in-house reformation program for drug offenders who surrendered but do not have pending cases and those apprehended but entered into a plea bargain agreement.
In April this year, the Supreme Court ruled that those who will be caught with less than 5 gram of shabu or crystal meth, opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine and less than 300 grams of marijuana may enter into a plea bargain to cut short their jail time and instead render penance through reformation.
This means that possession of small quantities of illegal substance which is usually punishable by 12 to 20 years may be converted through a plea bargain to possession of drug paraphernalia which only carries with it a penalty of six months to four years jail time.
Balay Silangan reformees who are still serving jail time under the plea bargain will be brought back to jail every after their daily session in the reformation house inside Ramon Durano Sr. Foundation.
Durano-Meca said the reformation modules in Balay Silangan program will be composed of moral and spiritual values restoration and skills
Since most drug offenders sell illegal drugs to generate income, the Balay Silangan will also provide an avenue for them to have alternative livelihood.
“Livelihood programs are part of the Balay Silangan module. Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) will be our partner for the skills training,” Durano-Meca said.
The logistical needs for the operation of Balay Silangan will be done in partnership with the province, Danao City and surrounding LGUs and the companies within and near Danao City.
“PDEA Director General [Aaron] Aquino already sent letters to the big companies within and
surrounding Danao City requesting them to participate in the operation of Balay Silangan as part of their corporate social
responsibility,” said Durano-Meca.
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