Robredo urged to pilot Central Luzon in anti-drugs campaign

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- The chief of the Central Luzon police on Thursday, November 21, urged Inter-Agency Committee Against Illegal Drugs (Icad) co-chairperson Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo to make Central Luzon the pilot-region in the committee’s nationwide effort to institutionalize the creation of more community-based rehabilitation and reformation facilities as long-term response to the illegal drugs menace.

Robredo who was the guest of honor at the third anniversary of the Bahay Pagbabago Community-Based Reformation Center in Dinalupihan, Bataan.

Brigadier General Rhodel Sermonia, acting director of Police Regional Office Central Luzon expressed optimism after the vice president has graced the event in Dinalupihan town.

“Icad can now focus on boosting its initiatives on the reformation and social reintegration of illegal drugs personalities who surrendered under the Tokhang program and those who are still undergoing reformation process in various community-based rehabilitation facilities, like the Bahay Pagbabago Reformation Center of Bataan,” Sermonia said.

Sermonia, who is the chief architect of the establishment of the Bahay Pagbabago Reformation Center in Bataan four years ago, said that with Robredo in Icad, the committee can now steer the course of the country’s anti-illegal drugs drive towards a more balanced approach between aggressive hunts for high-value targets and the institutionalization of the creation of more recovery and wellness programs facilities for surrendered drug personalities.

Bahay Pagbabago, formerly Bahay Pag-Asa, is Sermonia’s game-changer program in response to the challenges of demand reduction, reformation and social reintegration for illegal drugs personalities. The program earned him the recognition from the Dangerous Drugs Board, which made the project a master-template for the DBB’s Balay Silangan Reformation Center.

Sermonia said since July 2016 up to November 2019, joint efforts of various local government units, police units in the municipal and city levels, and private and rehabilitation facilities in Central Luzon have facilitated the graduation 58,637 former drug personalities.

Records show that Aurora for the period mentioned has 3,233 graduates, Bataan -- which is the pilot province for the establishment of Bahay Pagbabago Reformation Facilities -- has 5,903, Bulacan with 9,590, Nueva Ecija with 18,073, Pampanga with 7,589, Tarlac with 7,422, Zambales with 6,213, Angeles City with 151, and Olongapo City with 463.

At present, there are several rehabilitation and wellness centers throughout Central Luzon. Additional reformation centers are needed to ensure the successes of RWP in all municipalities and cities in the region and with the Vice President in ICAD, she can rally other stakeholders to support the operational and logistical requisites in the establishment of more Bahay Pagbabago Reformation Facilities.

Sermonia said that with the new Icad leadership, the killings that critics attribute to the government’s anti-drug campaign may hopefully take a turnaround with the government and stakeholders placing more weight in establishing collaborative partnership leading to the creation of more community reformation facilities to cater to more surrenderees. (Ric Sapnu)


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