Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III urges 130 graduates of the community drug rehabilitation program not to go back to being drug addicts during ther graduation ceremony held at the Ker and Co. building in this city on Monday (December 10, 2018). (Photo by Perla Lena)
ILOILO CITY -- An additional 130 drug surrenderers from the seven districts of this city received their certificates of completion after finishing the community drug rehabilitation program of the city government here Monday.
The group of surrenderers belongs to the fourth batch of the series of rehabilitation sessions established by the local government unit dubbed as Community Change Center (CCC): The Crossroads way back in 2016.
In his message, Mayor Jose Espinosa III acknowledged that each of them “has a unique story why they engaged in drugs” and expressed gladness of their acceptance that indeed they have a problem.
“I hope and I pray that no one will go back to taking drugs,” he said.
He also shared with them the reminder of President Rodrigo Duterte that his administration will sustain the fight against illegal drugs in the next three years.
One drug surrenderer, who asked not to be identified, was very thankful to the rehab center, which she used to despise but where she found refuge. She now serves as one of the peer facilitators.
She shared how she became a drug addict that cost her her lucrative job. Her late husband was the first who was lured into drug addiction, seven years after their marriage.
She said instead of helping him, she unintentionally did the opposite as she nagged him to stop taking drugs.
Her husband committed suicide because she threatened to leave him.
“I chose to speak up to make you aware that drug addiction is a sensitive, delicate and dangerous case,” she said.
She felt she was the reason why her husband died. She felt pressured and harbored guilt feelings for years, until she found herself taking the same illegal substance.
“When I became addict, I lose my job one by one,” she said.
She stopped using the illegal drug in 2016 when President Rodrigo Duterte won the elections not because she wanted to but out of fear.
It took concerned persons and authorities four times to encourage her to submit to the rehabilitation program. For two weeks, she said, she was not a good client.
“I was very sarcastic, I refused to listen. That’s why I am very thankful to the CCC staff for being so gentle. They brought me to the center which really changed my life,” she said.
The rehabilitation program started in 2016 in support of the anti-drug campaign of President Duterte.
The program produced 209 graduates under the first batch while 259 enrolled for the second batch.
Last April, an additional 188 drug surrenderers also received their certificates for finishing the rehabilitation program.
The city government provides a complete package for surrenderers that include livelihood skills training and job facilitation, as after care after the mandatory 90-day rehabilitation. (PNA)