COUNCILOR Simplicia Distrito, chairperson of the Sangguniang Panlungsod committee on social services, said hopefully Bacolod City government can create more facilities to help as many drug dependents as possible.

Distrito graced the opening of the Balay Silangan Reformation Center near the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) compound at Barangay Singcang-Airport.

" We are in the new phase of our Bacolod City government’s fight against the elimination of drug abuse among our children and drug victims," Distrito said yesterday, November 28.

She said of 31 drug surrenderers, only 17 have qualified to Balay Silangan after its series of free pre-qualification tests.

"This facility is in that direction (and) we aim to help (those who are into illegal) drug abuse by treating them as victims, and provide them with a facility to help them cope up (with their situation),” Distrito stressed.

The city official noted that illegal drug facilities will help users to arise from the dark experience of drug abuse, while at the same time, efforts should also strengthen in prosecuting and stopping illegal drug proliferation.

Balay Silangan, the national drug reformation program, offers temporary refuge with an objective of reforming drug offenders into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.

The P5-million two-story drug reformation center will be jointly operated by the City Government and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Doctors and nurses will be assigned to take care of the drug surrenderers along with the PDEA personnel.

“This is part of the old campaign to save the user, jail the pusher (and) there should be no mercy to the perpetrators, but let us help heal the wounds and pave the way for the victims to become a productive member of our society,” Distrito emphasized.

BCPO records showed that since 2021, Bacolod City has had 4, 511 drug surrenderers.

In 2018, the PDEA identified Bacolod City as one of the pilot sites of the Balay Silangan Reformation Program in the country. (MAP)