ANGELES CITY – The sheer number of drug surrenderees or so called “balik-loob” as what an official here calls them, has overwhelmed the city government which has prepared a program that has three components for their immediate and long term rehabilitation.
Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan’s chief of staff Alex Cauguiran, said 1,192 balik-loob (former small time drug pushers and users) were presented at Barangay Cutcut People’s Gym here on Tuesday for their formal surrender.
“We cannot accommodate every balik-loob, masyadu lang dakal (because they are too numerous),” Cauguiran said.
“But the city government has a property in Barangay Cuayan where we will put up a Gabay Diwa Rehabilitation Center that will have several buildings including wards for males and females, medical center, and physical center among others,” he explained. The design and perspective have already been drawn,” he added.
“They are categorized into male and female and even the age bracket will be made with minors separated from the adults,” he said. “There are also records per barangay because these have been mostly culled from police raids,” he added.
The construction cost will run several millions which the city government will subsidize and source from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) or from the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG), he said.
Cauguiran said part of the immediate program for the balik-loob will include the “signing of an affi davit of undertaking that they will undergo rehabilitation and treatment for six months.”
He said the second component of the program has eight modules like a medical examination, psycho analysis, and interview among others that will determine their degree of addictiveness or criminal culpabilities
“If it was found that they are already deep into addiction, then the person will be admitted as an in-patient and enter into rehabilitation but if not, then they can be classified as out-patients where they will have to report on a daily basis to perform community service, or health exercises for six months,” Cauguiran explained.
He said if the person completes the program, then he will no longer be charged in court or put behind bars. But if the person did not complete the program, then he will be charged and jailed, he added.
Cauguiran said those who will surrender voluntarily are welcome but they will undergo the same procedures for six months. That is the standard, he pointed out.
If they undergo the comprehensive program of rehabilitation and complete it including the last few months of skills training with the help of the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), we will help them find work based on their skills, Cauguiran said.
“Medical, psychological and physical tests will be conducted regularly so that they can even help in the community-based programs like tree planting, farming, physical exercises, and sports activities. There will be support groups from non-government organizations,” he said.
“So hopefully these 1,192 balik-loob will complete the program and will become better citizens,” Cauguiran said.