Private sector tapped for the rehab of Tabuk drug surrenderees

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – With no drug rehabilitation center in the city, a group from the private sector has committed to help in the rehabilitation of drug addicts who surrender.
P03 Alvius Cordero of the Tabuk City Police Station, who initiated the tapping of the private sector, said that the idea came from a noted drug rehabilitation center in Cebu City.
Cordero said that the national success rate of rehabilitated drug addicts is only 10 percent within the six month period after being released by the rehabilitation institutions but the rehabilitation center in Cebu City had shown remarkably better results because it included spiritual rehabilitation in its program.
“From these observations and taking into consideration the fact that we have no rehabilitation center, I asked for the support of the religious sector and other sectors to help in providing the surrenderees guidance,” he said.
On July 22, a meeting with the religious sector provided him the opportunity to speak with the group and from the 73 participants, 38 of them he said turned out during the initial meeting on July 23 when the Shalom Kalinga was organized with Pastor Dominador Oprecio as the chairman.
He said that Shalom Kalinga means Peace Kalinga. The second word in the name could also stand for the Tagalog word for “care.”
Immediately after its creation, the group started joining the Philippine National Police (PNP) in conducting Operation Tokhang under the Double Barrel Program of the Duterte administration to facilitate the initial healing process of those willing to go back to the folds of the law.
“With the presence of the religious group and other members of the society like the medical doctors, psychologists and businessmen, several illegal drug-involved individuals from the community gained the confidence to voluntarily surrender,” he disclosed.
Cordero said that aside from the house to house operation, the PNP along with the group is conducting IEC through barangay assemblies with the police. Those who surrendered, he said, have undergone spiritual counseling and were provided with Bibles.
“Our best arm in the rehabilitation process is the Word of God,” Cordero said.
As volunteers, the group contributes for their projects.
Part of their activity is the conduct of regular assessment meetings. Counseling is usually done once a week in the identified barangays. However, they also provide extra counseling for those requesting for their assistance.
“We are getting lots of invitation from the barangays for their new sets of surrenderees,” Cordero said.
After the initial counseling, the barangay officials will have to organize the succeeding processes to ensure that those undergoing rehabilitation will be monitored and regularly evaluated to prevent them from going back to their old habits.
“We are not forcing anyone to join in our free spiritual and psychological rehabilitation because we want them to voluntarily commit themselves to change,” Cordero said adding that some are still afraid to come out but with the group’s intervention, more are willing to reveal themselves even during the barangay assemblies.
Regarding the recent killings of three suspected drug pushers in the province, Cordero said that this is not the way of the Kalinga police since this is definitely contrary to the people’s culture.
Investigation is underway to identify the assailants, Cordero said.
Cordero reported that as of August 4 around 641 drug users/pushers have already surrendered to the police in the city. **Geraldine B. Gacuya/Tabuk City Information Office

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