DINALUPIHAN, Bataan — Vice President Leni Robredo and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino called for expansion of community-based rehabilitation programs for drug users here.
Robredo and Aquino, co-chairs of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), made the push before the 957 reformists or those who have graduated from a 30-day in-house drug rehabilitation program in Dinalupihan Bahay Pagbabago which celebrated its third anniversary on Thursday, November 21.
Those in white shirt are among the 957 reformists who have graduated from a 30-day in-house drug rehabilitation program in Dinalupihan Bahay Pagbabago. In total, the reformation center served 23 batches of former drug dependents @gmanews pic.twitter.com/m24w9QhPYC— Llanesca T. Panti (@llanescajourno) November 21, 2019
The 30-day program included establishing a relationship with God, self-esteem seminar, gender sensitivity training, team building with family, games and sports, among others.
Robredo said that while drug use is one of society's ills, coming to a place like Bahay Pagbabago can be a valuable learning experience. “[K]asi kapag mayroon po tayong nakikilala o nababalitaan na nagkamali at nalulong sa droga, karamihan sa atin tinitingnan iyon na kasalanan, ‘di ba? Kapag tiningnan natin na kasalanan noong nagkamali, iba iyong ating pag-deal sa kanya; ang ginagawa natin, hinuhusgahan, pinaparusahan,” she said.
“Iba ba iyong pakiramdam ng lipunan. Pero mahalaga iyong sinabi ni Mayor Gila [Garcia of Dinalupihan]. Sabi niya, dahil sakit ito ng lipunan, kabahagi tayong lahat sa dahilan kung bakit ito nangyari at kabahagi tayo lahat sa paghanap ng solusyon,
“At iyon po iyong pinag-uukulan natin ng panahon ngayon: ang iparamdam sa bawat Pilipino na problema natin ito lahat para tulong-tulong tayo sa paghanap ng solusyon.
“Iyong LGU ng Dinalupihan, iyong PNP, iyong PDEA, iyong provincial government, iyong iba’t ibang mga ahensya, iyong mga barangay, iyong civil society, faith-based organizations—nagtulong-tulong para sagipin iyong mga nagkamali. Alam niyo po, napakapalad niyo. Hindi lahat ng lugar, ganito ang sitwasyon. Hindi po lahat na lugar may programang ganito,” Robredo added.
Aquino, for his part, cited that during his time as the PNP Central Luzon Regional Director, he ordered his 45 chiefs of police within the region to establish community-based rehabilitation centers—a policy that he replicated as PDEA chief since there are already 60 reformatory centers called Balay Silangan or House of Hope for drug dependents nationwide.
“Sa Central Luzon, 122,000 ang nag-surrender [noong 2016]. The barangays were overwhelmed. Hindi nila alam kung anong gagawin sa mga nag-surrender at that time. Wala pang programa ang gobyerno. Kailangan talaga ng intervention, kaya nagkaroon tayo ng reformatory centers,” Aquino said.
“Tinanong ako ng mga pulis, saan raw sila kukuha ng budget para rito? Sabi ko, kausapin niyo ang mga mayors, members of the private sector, who could help you. If you had to beg for it, do it. Ang dami kong nakaaway na mayors, ang sabi hindi raw nila trabaho maglagay ng reformatory centers. Pero after a month, nakapag-comply rin. Kaya ni-replicate natin ito sa PDEA. We now have 60 Balay Silangan nationwide,” he added.
He said that the job, however, is far from over.
“Dun sa 122,000 na nag-surrender sa Central Luzon, 58,000 pa lang ang nag-benefit sa Bahay Pagbabago. Kalahati pa lang. Ano ang mangyayari kung hindi mare-reform? Babalik iyon,” Aquino said.
PNP hopeful of 'turnaround'
The PNP Region 3, in a separate statement, also called on the Vice President to have their rehabilitation program cascaded across the country as a long-term response to drug menace.
“With Robredo in ICAD, the committee can now steer the course of the country’s anti-illegal drugs drive towards a balanced approach between the aggressive hunt for high-value targets and creation of recovery and wellness programs for drug dependents,” Brigadier General Rhodel Sermonia, Acting Regional Director of PRO 3, said.
“With the new ICAD leadership, the killings that critics attribute to the government’s anti-drug campaign may hopefully take a turnaround,” Sermonia added.
At least 5,700 suspected drug personalities have been killed in during the police's anti-drug operations since July 2016, but the said figure does not include drug war related deaths perpetrated by unidentified gunmen. — BM, GMA News