PDEA exec to visit Bacolod for ‘Balay Silangan’ program

BACOLOD City – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is considering this city as the possible pilot site of the Balay Silangan Reformation Program in the Visayas.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia said on Monday that an official of PDEA will arrive in the city on June 13 to discuss the program.

PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino requested Leonardia for a meeting through Director Donelyn Hernandez of the PDEA Preventive Education and Community Involvement Service.

“Bacolod City is being considered for the program’s pilot implementation in the Visayas since the city actively supports the government’s anti-drug campaign,” Aquino said in a letter to the mayor dated June 5.

Other Balay Silangan pilot sites are located in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija for Luzon; Caloocan City for the National Capital Region; and Malungon, Sarangani Province for Mindanao.

Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 2, series of 2018 provides the guidelines for Balay Silangan on community involvement in reforming drug offenders into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.

Leonardia said he believes that PDEA considered Bacolod for the project because of its good record in the campaign against illegal drugs.

“It is very heartening that we are being considered as among the four pilot sites in the Philippines,” the mayor said.

For the city’s support to the anti-drug campaign, Leonardia cited, among others, Bacolod’s hosting of the 2017 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking led by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in June last year. The event was attended by at least 17,000 participants, including delegates from Luzon.

He added that Bacolod also launched the “Rehabinasyon,” a holistic approach in eliminating the country’s drug problem that puts a premium on the rehabilitation of drug surrenderers, in March this year.

The Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs and the Presidential Communications Operations Office had chosen Bacolod as the venue for “Rehabinasyon.”

Moreover, Leonardia said the DDB has approved a PHP10-million grant for the city’s own drug rehabilitation center that will cost about PHP30 million, to be constructed in the city government-owned lot in Barangay Alijis.

“This process has been ongoing, (and) we were verbally told that the project is already okay. We hope that in a matter of weeks or months, we can already proceed,” the mayor added. (NLG/PNA)

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