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ZamPen LGUs urged to build drug rehab centers per municipality

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Sept 16 (PIA) – The Interagency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs Advocacy Cluster of Region IX (ICAD-AC) will continue to advocate for the establishment of Balay Silangan or reformatory centers for illegal drug personalities in every municipality.

ICAD-AC 9 is pushing local government units (LGUs) to establish the centers to rehabilitate drug pushers, ideally in every municipality. However, municipalities with budgetary challenges may enter into a memorandum of agreement with other LGUs to jointly operate on existing one.

The Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-9 reported that as of September 14, 2022 there are only 22 Balay Silangan in the region where only 8 are fully operational.

Based on Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 2, series of 2018, which provided guidelines on the establishment of Balay Silangan stated that the program shall serve as an instrument for the reformation of drug personalities. This serves as an alternative intervention for drug personalities who are not eligible to be admitted in treatment and rehabilitation facilities supervised by the Department of Health.

In its latest report, PDEA revealed that 32 persons were arrested from January to September 14, 2022; 30 are high value targets. In 2021, a total of 179 persons were arrested; 165 are high value targets.

The eight operation Balay Silangan have already produced 241 completers of the reform program, while 39 are still undergoing the program.

PDEA9 also reported that there are 1,262 drug-cleared brgys in the region as of Sept 7, 2022. However, 527 barangays remain to be drugs-affected, where 444 of which remained moderately affected, 71 are slightly affected, and 12 are still seriously affected by illegal drugs.

PDEA9 revealed that a total of 1,766.62 grams of shabu were seized during the operations from Jan-Dec 2021 with a total amount of P12,013,016.00. From Jan-Sep 14, 2022. However, a total of 1,254.57 grams of shabu were seized with a total amount of P8,531,076.00.

A committee resolution was also passed requesting the Dangerous Drugs Board to lobby for Congress’ enactment or amendment of a law that will allocate specific percentage amount from the local budget for anti-illegal drugs efforts. (EDT/RVC/PIA9)

About the Author

Rene Carbayas

Assistant Regional Head

Region 9

Media practitioner, a teacher by profession, an advocate for youth, peace and environment, culture and the arts, playwright and theater artist, earned his Masters Degree in Theater at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, and pursued studies in public administration at Western Mindanao State University. Some 18 years in public service and today as Assistant Regional Director of the Philippine Information Agency Region IX.

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