Baybay City Continues its Programs Against Illegal Drugs

The second batch of five (5) reforming residents started their three (3) months of Residential Reformatory Program at the Balay Silangan Drug Reformation Center in Barangay Kilim of this city last March 7, 2022. However, since their court order states that they have to undergo rehabilitation for six (6) months, then they have to complete the 18 months after-care program still inside the Balay Silangan Drug Reformation Center.

This was revealed by City Social Welfare and Development Officer (CSWDO) and Center Director, Dr. Manuel Icon P. Donaire who also said that their graduation ceremony will probably be scheduled on September of this year.

It could be recalled that in November 25, 2021, the first batch of five (5) reforming residents of the Balay Silangan Drug Reformation Center received their Certificates of Completion after undergoing the Residential Reformatory Program of the center for three (3) months.

During his welcome remarks, CSWDO & Center Director Dr. Donaire thanked all the partner-agencies which led to the success of the implementation of the program.

These include the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region 8 represented by Assistant Regional Director Atty. Benjamin Gaspi, 14th Infantry Battalion thru LTCOL ERNESTO DELA ROSA, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) thru SINSP MARVIN CUBIO, and the Parole and Probation Officer Jesus Berongoy. He also thanked City Health Officer and Baybay City Day-time Therapeutic Community Center Head, Dr. Norberto Oja and the Balay Silangan Reformation Center staff.

Dr. Donaire recalled, “It started in 2016 after the marching order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to strengthen the efforts of the Local Government Units against illegal drugs, the city established the first-ever Day-time Therapeutic Community Center not just in the region but in the entire country according to the Department of Health (DOH). Now, we are the first Local Government Unit in the region to operate the Balay Silangan Reformation Center.”

PDEA 8 ARD Atty. Gaspi seconded this statement and said that, “In Eastern Visayas, you (Baybay City LGU) are the first to have graduates of the Residential Reformatory Program and I am glad that the LGU is very supportive in the campaign against illegal drugs.”

While addressing the reforming residents, Atty. Gaspi said that, “But even if you have graduated from the program already, and you don’t have a family to support you and you won’t have your own source of income, you will soon be tempted to go back selling illegal drugs. Thus, you should be thankful that you have the support of your family and that of your LGU.”

According to Dr. Donaire, the graduates received a livelihood assistance of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS from the Baybay City LGU and TEN THOUSAND PESOS from Congressman Carl Nicolas Cari of the 5th District of Leyte. “The City also paid for their Skills Training on Motorcycle Small Engine Servicing NC II. They are now undergoing the 18-months After-Care Program, part of which is that they serve as Big Brothers to the new reforming residents so they report to the Balay Silangan on their assigned schedule,” added the Balay Silangan Center Director.

It could be recalled that the Balay Silangan Reformation Center in Baybay City also served as the After-care Facility of the Saving Lives at a Common Ground (SALAG) Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Dulag, Leyte thus their graduates come to the center for strength to avoid relapse.

Vice Mayor Butawan, on the other hand, said that, “During the early part of the campaign against illegal drugs, many died and were not given the chance to change and be a reformed person. But here in the City of Baybay, we established the Balay Silangan Reformation Center, we hired personnel, and provided funds for its operation, thru the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City, to give you a chance to reform yourselves.”

“And because of our programs, thru which we attend to the persons who used drugs (PWUDs) and the pushers, the City Mayor, Hon. Jose Carlos L. Cari received the awards as the 2020 National Anti-Drug Abuse Council ADAC Special Awardee and the 2019 Regional ADAC Functionality ADAC Awardee in Manila,” added Vice Mayor Butawan.

And since the PDEA had been encouraging other LGUs to also establish Balay Silangan and implement the Residential Reformation Program, representatives from the Local Government Units (LGUs) of Maasin City and Bato, Leyte came to the Balay Silangan Reformation Center for bench marking, while the Hindang, Hilongos and Matalom LGUs had been inquiring on how the City of Baybay did it. (Marissa Miguel Cano, City Information Officer, Baybay City, Leyte)