ILOILO CITY – The government’s rehabilitation program has helped 19,251 persons who use drugs (PWUDs) and small-time pusher-users in Western Visayas since it started operations in 2019.
The rehabilitation program is implemented through the community-based drug rehabilitation program (CBRDP) with 18,333 graduates, Balay Silangan with 411, and the treatment and rehabilitation center (TRC) with 507 graduates.
Shey Tanaleon, public information officer of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Western Visayas, said that the CBRDP catering to users and the Balay Silangan for small-time pusher-surrenderers and users needing reformation are both under the local government units, while the TRC for severe cases needing medical intervention is in the municipality of Pototan in Iloilo.
Most of them are already reintegrated into society and have found good jobs. They are closely monitored, however, to make sure they will not go back to their old ways, she added in an interview on Tuesday.
“We are most thankful because it was proven that one need not enter into illegal drug activities to earn a living. The aftercare in our CBDRP and Balay Silangan have given opportunities mostly to our graduates to find themselves again and look for good jobs for their families,” she said.
She added that their families, especially, are grateful because they completed the rehabilitation and made use of the program for their reintegration.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday said the campaign against illegal drugs is directed at community-based treatment, rehabilitation, education and reintegration.
Tanaleon said one of their mandates at PDEA is to support rehabilitation although their number one responsibility is the reduction of drugs through anti-drug operations.
“Since we have shifted to rehabilitation, it is still a part of our drug-clearing operations. Actually, it is a very big part of our sustainability in drug clearing,” she said.
“We are pushing our surrenderers to complete the program and be role models for others who also would like to undergo rehabilitation,” she added.
Meanwhile, she said there are 70 existing Balay Silangan Reformation Centers in Western Visayas; the latest opened in the municipality of Cabatuan in Iloilo last month.
“There is no exact quota as to how many Balay SIlangan will be established. But local government units are encouraged to have their facility as part of drug clearing operations,” Tanaleon said. (PNA)