SARANGANI AMONG PH’S TOP PERFORMERS IN ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN
GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The province of Sarangani has emerged as among the country's top performers in the campaign against illegal drugs in the past two years, an assessment conducted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) showed.
Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon said Wednesday the province was among the 21 local government units (LGUs) in the country that received a high-performance rating for the anti-drug campaign based on the agency's yearend audit since 2017.
Solon said Sarangani received a performance award from DILG last December 28 for such accomplishment, which was spearheaded by the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC).
Based on the DILG's ADAC performance audit, some 241 LGUs composed of provinces, cities, and municipalities have garnered scores between 85 and 100 and given the "ideal" rating or high functionality.
At least 21 LGUs, including Sarangani, got perfect scores.
The National ADAC Performance Award recognizes the exemplary efforts of LGUs, through their respective ADACs, “in complementing the national government’s efforts in eradicating the country’s illegal drug problem.”
Lizette Lopez, a member of the PADAC secretariat, said among the factors that raised the province's performance was its acceptance last year of hosting the pilot site in Mindanao of the "Balay Silangan" program of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“Balay Silangan”, which opened in May last year in Malungon town, provides temporary shelter and rehabilitates drug users and offenders.
Aside from this, she said they doubled efforts to make local ADACs functional, especially in the implementation of the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program (CBRP).
The province had adopted the program to address the need to eliminate the use and abuse of illegal substances in local communities, she said.
“We did a lot of work but now we have 700 plus volunteers doing the community-based rehabilitation,” she said.
Lopez said more than 7,000 persons who use drugs (PWUDs) had surfaced in the province since 2016 but the number was reduced to 5,654 after a data cleansing conducted by the local government last October.
She said the list was mainly cleared of double entries, those in jail, transferred their residence and those who have died.
In Sarangani, Lopez said all PWUDs under low and medium levels are referred to the CBRP while those assessed under high levels are referred to rehabilitation centers.
Last month, the Department of Health formally unveiled Soccsksargen's 150-bed drug rehabilitation facility in Alabel, Sarangani.
The construction of the facility was funded by the government of China through a PHP350 million grant.
"The good news is that, we already have graduates under the CBRP and we're continually expanding the program," Lopez said, adding that these graduates underwent "meaningful" rehabilitation for three to four months.
As of yearend, she said, 18 percent of the surrendered PWUDs in the area already graduated from the program. (Beverly Paoyon/PNA)
Photo from RMN Network