THE seven-day wellness camp for drug surrenderers in Negros Occidental kicked off on Sunday at the Philippine Army’s Camp Major Gerona in Murcia town.
Second Lieutenant Ma. Revekka Roperos, public information officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, said 38 moderate drug users are attending the week-long program.
Of the 38, 11 are from Bago City; 10, from Kabankalan City; seven, from Hinigaran; six, from San Carlos City; and four, from La Carlota City.
Roperos said that five more drug surrenderees are expected to join today’s session.
The participants will stay at the army camp for the duration of the program, with activities from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Participants are undergoing leadership and wellness training that includes physical tasks, spiritual activities, counseling, and lectures which will run until August 27. Resource speakers are from various government agencies.
Roperos said the expenses are being shouldered by the provincial government sourced from the P5 million allocation for its effort in the anti-drug campaign of the national government.
Ma. Lina Sanogal, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office and action officer of the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council, said that the activity is a way of the government to recover and win back the youth who will be the future of the country.
“This is also a way to strengthen a family, which is a basic unit of our society,” she added.
Sanogal said the wellness camp is an initiative that can help the participants to go back to mainstream society, and win back the love of their family, friends, and community.
Col. Leopoldo Galon, deputy commander of the 303rd Brigade, told the participants: “You are here to discover yourself and be an agent of change.”
He added that they will offer a lot of enriching and challenging activities for the participants.
Last August 15, about 50 drug users in Silay City started attending an outpatient rehabilitation program.
The program is funded by Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez, and among those implementing it is former Third District board member Patrick Lacson, a reform drug dependent himself.
A week earlier, about 30 drug dependents enrolled in the first batch of outpatient drug rehabilitation program in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental.
The outpatient program in the two areas, which will run for 8 to 12 weeks, costs P2,500 for every drug patient.
It has been proposed by Negros Oriental Third District Representative Arnulfo Teves, also a reformed drug dependent.