PDEA: We give second chance to those who surrender

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency is the lead anti-drug law enforcement agency, responsible for preventing, investigating and combating any dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals within the Philippines. SOURCE: Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Drug_Enforcement_Agency

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) announced that more than 9,000 barangays had been declared drug cleared since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

At least 9,503 out of the 42,044 barangays (villages) in the country have been declared drug-cleared as of November 30.

As of this posting, a total of 22,641 barangays have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs.

A total of 303,533 drug surrenderers have graduated from the Recovery and Wellness Program (RWP), undertaken both by the government and the private sector across the country as part of the administration’s campaign to holistically address the illegal drug problem.

The figure can be broken down into 151,385 surrenderers who graduated from the RWP initiated by the PNP and 152,148 from supported community centers from July 1, 2016 to November 3, 2018.
Meanwhile, the PDEA has opened community-based reformation centers aimed to rehabilitate drug offenders - known as Balay Silangan Reformation Center, or “house of hope”, it is a temporary shelter intended to reform drug offenders into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.

“The Balay Silangan Reformation Center welcomes with open arms drug offenders who aspire (for) a renewed life and have chosen to be on the side of the government rather than help peddle illegal drugs in the streets,” Aquino said.

“The program is reformatory in nature. It is an alternative intervention for drug personalities who are not users and are not eligible to undergo medical treatment and rehabilitation in facilities supervised by the Department of Health (DOH),” Aquino added.

The PDEA chief added that the initiative is the agency's pilot harm-reduction program aimed at boosting efforts to clear 26,000 barangays in the country from illegal drugs.

He said this program shows that PDEA values life despite pursuing war against drugs, noting that government agencies want former drug offenders to have the opportunity to rehabilitate, to regain their dignity and place in our society.

“PDEA is continuously enhancing its operations and programs for the holistic resolution of the country’s drug problem by clearing barangay by barangay from the drug menace. Balay Silangan, as a priority initiative, is one of them,” Aquino stressed.

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation Number 2, Series of 2018, which was approved and adopted on January 24, 2018, laid the groundwork for Balay Silangan.

The Balay Silangan National Oversight Committee, whose task is to oversee the implementation of the program, is chaired by PDEA and its members include the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Social Welfare and Development , Technical Education and Skills Development Administration, Parole and Probation Administration, Bureau of Corrections, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of National Defense, the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Balay Silangan had already opened in the provinces of Sarangani and Nueva Ecija and also in Caloocan City.

SOURCE: Caliwan (2018). PDEA wages staunch anti-drug war, second chance for surrenderers. By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan. Philippine News Agency. December 25, 2018, 9:00 pm. www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1057353