By John Rey Saavedra
CEBU CITY – At least 591 drug surrenderers on Wednesday completed a community-based rehabilitation program (CBRP) in Cebu’s island-municipality of Bantayan, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Central Visayas said.
Wardley Getalla, PDEA acting regional director, said the participants are residents of the town who surrendered to the authorities in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
During the ceremony held at the Bantayan Multi-Purpose Gym, Getalla congratulated “the completers for their significant achievement”.
He encouraged them “to continue their reformation not only for themselves but especially for their families”.
PDEA-7 information officer Leia Albiar told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview that the individuals, who surrendered to their respective barangays or local police stations, voluntarily signed up to undergo the rehabilitation program.
A community-based approach, the CBRP is a six to nine months-long rehabilitation program under the supervision of the Department of Health (DOH).
As part of Duterte’s overall response to the ongoing drug abuse prevention program, the community-based treatment and rehabilitation program is guided by Republic Act No 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which mandates that “it is the State’s policy to provide effective mechanisms or measures to reintegrate into society individuals who have fallen victims to drug abuse or dependence through sustainable programs of treatment and rehabilitation”.
According to Albiar, local government units (LGUs) are tapped to facilitate the conduct of CBRP through monitoring and coordination with other government agencies.
After the rehabilitation phase, the 591 drug surrenderers who joined the CBRP in Bantayan will undergo a community reintegration program, and will receive livelihood assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“Tagaan nato sila og livelihood trainings and other opportunities aron ma-ehnance ilang self (We will give them livelihood trainings and other opportunities to enhance themselves),” Albiar said.
Bantayan Mayor Ian Christopher Escario and Bantayan Police Station chief, Major June Tabigo-on attended the commencement rites.
The Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO) was represented by Yhene Mahinay.
Bantayan is one of the three municipalities of the Bantayan Island group, together with the neighboring towns of Sta. Fe and Madridejos. (PNA)