GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 Jan) – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 12 and the provincial government of South Cotabato have enlisted an initial 46 drug offenders into the flagship Balay Silangan reformation program.
Naravy Duquiatan, PDEA-Region 12 director, said the recipients are currently undergoing various interventions at the province’s Balay Silangan Reformatory Center in Purok A, Barangay Poblacion in Tupi town.
She said the local government formally started early this month the operationalization of the center in coordination with PDEA-12.
Its initial clients are composed of 43 male and three former detainees of the South Cotabato Rehabilitation and Detention Center or provincial jail and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology district jail who availed of plea bargaining agreement with local courts, she said.
Duquiatan said the three-month reformation program covers a range of interventions such as continuing education, skills and livelihood training, health awareness activities, psychological, spiritual, physical activities, moral recovery and values formation.
“Balay Silangan is a reformation program that takes a home-centered approach to convince drug offenders to give themselves a second chance in life,” she said in a statement.
Before the 46 clients were admitted to the facility, Duquiatan said they were subjected to mandatory drug testing.
Introduced two years ago by PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, Balay Silangan or “house of hope” is a “temporary shelter intended to reform drug offenders into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.”
“When we say rehabilitation center you will be treated, you will be rehabilitated. However, in Balay Silangan you will be reformed,” Duquiatan said.
The provincial government, which manages the center, earlier signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Social Welfare and Development-12 and the municipal government of Tupi to facilitate it operationalization.
South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo said the facility is a huge help to the local government as it will no longer need to send drug offenders to Cagayan de Oro City to undergo reformation.
He said it will also help decongest the provincial jail, which currently has over 1,600 detainees.
The provincial government previously spent at least P6,000 a month per person or P36,000 in six months for the reformation program in Cagayan de Oro. (MindaNews)