By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Western Visayas is now looking for possible sites in the region to establish Balay Silangan which will house and serve as Reformation Centers for drug pushers surrenderees.
In an interview on Thursday, PDEA 6 officer-in-charge Alex Tablate said Balay Silangan is one strategy of their office intended for drug surrenderees under the category of “pushers”.
“Eto yung isang strategy ng PDEA ngayon parang reformation center. This is intended para sa surrenderees na ang category nila pushers,” he explained.
Tablate added that the center is also intended for moderately drug-affected barangays in the region with listed pushers in their respective barangays.
“This is intended for those barangays na moderately affected. Hindi kasi natin madideclare kung drug cleared barangays kung hindi ma-address yung pushers na nakalista or sa barangay nila,” he said.
He said that drug pushers need to undergo reformation in Balay Silangan for at least three months where one month is mandatory in-house while the last two months would include livelihood trainings either inside or outside the center.
Tablate clarified that Balay Silangan is different from the existing community-based rehabilitation centers in the region.
“This is different from the community-based rehabilitation center kasi naka-focus naman yun dun sa mga drug-users. Ang Balay Silangan is more on reformation sa values ng pushers,” he said.
Under the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) regulation, each local government unit is required to establish a reformation center.
Tablate said Passi City is now ready for the establishment of a Balay Silangan facility which will cater to its eight neighboring municipalities and is just currently processing its paper requirements.
“May building na gagamitin, inaasikaso na lang. The mayor said they are very much willing to accommodate pushers of more or less eight municipalities. We are targeting to be operational by second semester,” he said.
According to Tablate, the municipality of Miagao, Iloilo, although it has been declared as drug-cleared, will also be establishing its own Balay Silangan.
The province of Guimaras is also looking into building a structure which will accommodate pusher-surrenderees under its five municipalities.
Aside from the three LGUs, PDEA is also having talks with the local government units of Janiuay in Iloilo and Tapaz, Capiz for the establishment of the Balay Silangan.
“Hindi naman kailangan ng malaking pera to establish the building. Kung may existing buildings pwede naman nilang i-establish yun,” Tablate noted.