Tue, 18 Jan 2022

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu - The city government here will partner with the anti-drug agency and a Christian organization in setting up a rehabilitation program for small-time drug offenders, an official said on Wednesday.

Garry Lao, executive director of the City of Lapu-Lapu Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (CLOSAP), said Mayor Junard Chan will enter into a tripartite memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and House of Hope for the establishment of the Balay Silangan Reformation Program.

Lao said the City Council approved the endorsement of Chan for the allocation of PHP1 million for the operation of the center that will provide intervention for "small-time drug offenders who are neither users nor dependents".

He cited Section 51 of Republic Act (RA) 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, as amended, which mandates the local government units to appropriate an amount from their annual budget meant for preventive or educational programs and rehabilitation and treatment of drug dependents.

"The establishment of Bahay Silangan is an intervention congruent with the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation Number 2, Series of 2018 which aims to establish the guidelines for community involvement in reforming drug offenders into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society," Lao told the Philippine News Agency in a message.

Since it would cost a huge amount of money to construct the center, the city government partnered with the House of Hope, a Christian-based rehabilitation center, to run the intervention programs for the patients.

The program will include giving continuing education and health awareness lessons as well as psychological, spiritual, and physical activities.

"Livelihood and skills training programs which include soap making, massage therapy training, basic carpentry, welding, haircutting, among others, are likewise provided to give drug reformers employment opportunities," Lao added.

He said a program participant must meet specific conditions to become eligible for the program, among them surrendering to authorities but not belonging to the government watch list, wanted list, and target list, and not having pending criminal cases.

The anti-drug official said those who availed of the plea bargaining agreement or convicted under Section 15, Article II of RA 9165 and required to undergo rehabilitation and those who served jail terms for violation of the anti-drug law are not qualified for the Balay Silangan. (PNA)

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