DRUG surrenderees in all barangays of Itogon are now being organized into associations for the possibility of extending livelihood opportunities in order to mainstream as productive members of the community.

Itogon Livelihood and Cooperative Development Officer Patrick Alcedo said livelihood is one of the priority programs of Mayor Victor Palangdan aimed to reduce poverty, provide alternative employment and increase family income of organized groups or associations.

Drug surrenderees numbering to 187 to date were included in the livelihood program of the local government anchored on the national government's campaign on illegal drugs.

Through the Municipal and Barangay Anti-drug Abuse Council (MADAC/BADAC), Alcedo said surrenderees in all of the nine barangays are being organized and are ongoing registration with the Department of Labor and Employment as one of the requirements for accreditation.

The organized groups need to be accredited with the local government so they can avail of livelihood programs depending on their field of specialization, said Alcedo.

Among the initially identified skills of surrenderees are carpentry, auto-machinist, tailoring, souvenir making, and photo printing.

For the holistic engagement of surrenderees for their further rehabilitation, aside from their weekly monitoring by the Philippine National Police, the surrenderees are also engaged in a spiritual program called “Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan” (UBAS) in partnership with the church through a weekly fellowship every Sunday. Also part of their involvement is a community service under the town’s clean and green program. (Susan Aro/PIA–CAR)