A time to praise the Lord, to say thank you and to enjoy the love of the family

Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. Cari during her inspirational message said, “We did all these because Baybay City loves you.  That’s why we are doing our best to bring you back to your respective families and communities.”  The residents and their family responded with resounding applause as a way of saying “Thank you!”

Family.  This is how they address each other at the Baybay City Day-time Therapeutic Community Center in Barangay Gaas, Baybay City, Leyte.

Before the program started, they had parlor games such as the Modified Trip to Jerusalem, Paper Dance and Modified Planting Rice. They also had a Videoke Singing of songs like “Anak”, “Dance with my Father” and the like. And according to City Social Welfare and Development Officer, Ms. Loreta Malabanan whom they call Nanay Loret, “This is a reflection of their current condition and the kind of life that they have inside the day-time therapeutic community center.”

Rural Health Physician and Medical Team Head, Dr. Norberto Oja, was so pleased of the improvement in the lives of the 21 residents of the therapeutic community center.  Tatay Onic, as they call him, recalled that during the first mass in the center, some of the residents don’t even know how to do the sign of the cross. “Now, some of them are assigned as readers while the others become a member of the choir,” revealed Dr. Oja.

Dr. Oja reiterated that even if out of the 2,252 drug surrenderees in the city, only 21 enrolled with the therapy, “This is already a very big accomplishment in terms of finding solutions to the drug problem in the city because their families will be the multipliers, being their co-dependents.”

Tatay Onic recalled that when Mayor Cari agreed to put up the Day-time Therapeutic Community Center, to accommodate the identified 96 high risk drug dependents in the city, they were struggling on how to manage the center because it is not like the Saving Lives on a Common Ground (SALAG) Rehabilitation Center in Dulag, Leyte wherein the residents are stay-in.  He said that their greatest challenge then was every time the residents go home, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, they might again fell for temptations from former companions.  “But now, everything is in order in the center.  And when you graduate from the therapy, you will be helping us in the conduct of lectures with the other drug surrenderees in the city, under our Out-Patient Program,” added Dr. Oja.

Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. Cari seconded this statement and said, “You will become role models for the drug dependents and a living proof that people do change.” During her inspirational message, Mayor Cari said that she is very much delighted with how the 21 residents of the therapeutic community center was transformed from fierce-looking persons into hopeful, cheerful and God-fearing individuals.  For this, she thanked Congressman Jose Carlos Cari for allowing the city to use the New Baybay City Library for the purpose.  She also thanked the Sangguniang Panlungsod headed by Vice Mayor Michael L. Cari for immediately approving the necessary documents for the establishment of the Day-time Therapeutic Community Center.  She also thanked the nurses and the social workers who did not have second thoughts of undergoing immersion at the SALAG Rehabilitation Center to prepare themselves for the task at hand and who attended to all the needs of the residents from Mondays thru Fridays. “But most of all I thank you and your family.  Because even how much we try to help you, if you will not cooperate, all our efforts will be in vain,” stressed Mayor Cari.

She added that according to Dr. Teresita Caneja, Chief of Hospital of the Department of Health Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DOH-TRC) in Dulag, Leyte, Baybay City was the first Local Government Unit (LGU) in Region 8 to have established a Day-time Therapeutic Community Center.  “We did all these because Baybay City loves you.  That’s why we are doing our best to bring you back to your respective families and communities,” added the City Mayor.  The residents and their family responded with resounding applause as a way of saying “Thank you!”

The program ended with the giving of gift packs and cash gifts to the 21 residents of the Baybay City Day-time Therapeutic Community Center, courtesy of the City Mayor.

While in an interview with Dr. Oja, he said that the said Christmas Party, together with the family of the 21 residents, was part of their program in the city’s day-time therapeutic community center.

Now that the Christmas Season is over, their sessions have resumed already and according to Social Worker Officer III Manuel Icon Donaire they are happy that the 21 residents are still intact and are actively attending to their daily activities.  He said that they just had their second random drug testing in January 4, 2017 and they are pleased that the results show that all of the residents of the therapeutic community center are negative of illegal drugs. (Marissa Miguel Cano, City Information Officer III)

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