PDEA-7 implements priority programs to save drug victims, surrenderees

Softer approach on the country's war on drugs

By: Wenilyn B. Sabalo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | September 30,2022 - 07:39 AM

The first Balay Silangan in Central Visayas located in Barangay Guinsay, Danao City, Cebu, officially opened last September 10, 2019.| Photo courtesy of PDEA 7

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) is pushing for a two-pronged campaign to combat the issue of illegal drug use and selling in the region.

In addition to focusing on its supply reduction campaign by means of drug raids and arrests, PDEA-7 is also intensifying its demand-reduction initiatives, and providing second chance for victims of illegal drugs.

The agency, in coordination with various local government units (LGUs) in the region, implemented two priority programs to provide options for drug users and pushers who have turned themselves to authorities.

According to PDEA-7 information officer Leia Alcantara, the organization is currently concentrating on the “Balay Silangan” program and the Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program (CBDRP).

“Ang instruction sa PDEA sa atong enforcement units is to continue on the supply reduction, but also as i-intensify nato ang rehabilitation side. It’s true nga wala’y mugamit kung walay mamaligya, but mas bug-at ang truth sa kung muingon ta nga wala’y mamaligya kung wala’y mugamit, because drugs is a business,” she said.

Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program

Alcantara claimed that a ‘significant’ number of surrenderees who voluntarily enrolled in the LGU-based CBDRP took advantage of the second chance to be reintegrated into society as they completed the rehabilitation program.

Around 95 percent of drug users who surrendered, she said, are undergoing barangay-level intervention. Majority of them have successfully overcome the addiction, she added.

“Daghan kaayo ta og completers sa CBDRP; this is our LGU-based intervention for persons who use drugs, katong makaya pa sa barangay, in-terms of level of addiction,” she said.

“Naay mga tarong na nga trabaho, naka reconnect sa ilang mga families. Kana lang daan is dako na kaayo nga indication that our CBDRP is effective,” she added.

She did, however, point out that although they are continuously monitored, some people do still relapse following the treatment program.

Balay Silangan program

The agency is also facilitating a three-month “Balay Silangan” program. It focuses on the reformation of small-time illegal drug offenders who have no history of drug use and have voluntarily surrendered, entered into a plea bargain, or have served jail time and been released from prison already.

According to PDEA, the facility is designed to reform offenders into “productive and law-abiding members of the community.”

“Sulod sa Balay Silangan, naa sila’y mga sessions ngadto to address their attitude towards money, and developing livelihood skills. Ang intention g’yod nato is inig balik nila sa community, naa sila’y trabaho and pangita nga dili connected sa illegal drugs,” Alcantara said.

“Instead nga isulod nato sila sa prisohan nga nag punsisok na didto, tagaan nato sila og lain alternative once qualified lang,” she added.

The operation of a Balay Silangan facility is sustained through the combined efforts of LGUs and various concerned agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, TESDA, and Department of Trade and Industry, in addition to law enforcement agencies.

The first Balay Silangan facility in Central Visayas formally opened in September 2019. It is located in Barangay Guinsay, in Danao City, Cebu.

Currently, there are 14 Balay Silangan facilities in operation throughout Central Visayas.

Eight other LGUs, Alcantara said, also recently launched the program in their localities, but are still working on the construction of their facility.

/bmjo

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TAGS: Balay Silangan facility, Cebu‬, Cebu Daily News, Community-based Drug Rehabilitation Program, drug abuse, drug victims, PDEA 7 spokesperson Leia Alcantara, PDEA-7, reformation, rehabilitation

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