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207 drug dependents in Iloilo City complete rehabilitation program
By Perla G. Lena

ILOILO CITY, Jan. 12 (PNA) -- Some graduates of the Community Change Center (CCC) here could not help but shed tears of joy and gratitude for the chance that was provided them to reform and leave their addiction to illegal drugs.

On Thursday, 207 clients of the center, the first drug rehabilitation center that is managed by a local government unit in Western Visayas, completed the required 90-day prescribed program. They still have to undergo the next phase of the program, which is the livelihood training to be handled by the Technical Institute of Iloilo City (TIIC).

A 27-year-old mother of three from Jaro district said that the rehabilitation program has provided them direction. She also feels that they are already treated well by other people.

She was only 15 years old and still single when she had her first taste of the illegal drug. She temporarily stopped but resumed when she got married when she found out that her husband was involved with another woman.

She chose to enroll in cooking after the rehabilitation program and hopes to have her own business to start life anew.

Another graduate, a 54-year-old woman, said that she was happy that finally she was able to overcome her addiction. Her husband, who also surrendered in the "Oplan Tokhang", will join the next batch to undergo the rehabilitation program.

The initial implementation of the program targeted 420 surrenderers of the "Oplan Tokhang" but only 351 enrolled and 207 were able to complete the basic requirement of attendance to the 90-day period.

The city government, through the City Health Office, is now preparing for the second batch.

“For as long as we have clients, as long as there is a need, as long as there are surrenderers, the program continues,” said Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City in his keynote address during the graduation ceremony.

The mayor, who attended the meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, said that the campaign will be strengthened further in response to the call of the President for local government units to help in the drive against illegal drugs.

He revealed that in heeding the advice of the President, the city government will allot bounty for those who can provide information as to whereabouts of high-value targets or those with warrants of arrest. Funds will be sourced from the city government’s intelligence fund.

The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) will formulate the reward system to be submitted to Mabilog in the next weeks.

As advised by the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6), the Iloilo City Police Office will now start the validation of drug-affected barangays. A sticker will be used to tag houses of former drug pushers and users who have been cleared from the use of illegal drugs.

Aside from the city’s CCC, 150 surrenderers from the city opted to avail of the rehab program that was offered by the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6).

PRO 6 director, Chief Superintendent Jose Gentiles said that their program seeks to complement and not compete with the city government’s initiative. The program is offered in the evening, which is ideal for those who are working or studying.

The CCC, on the other hand, operates during daytime only with two sessions daily.

Mabilog said that in totality, 357 have completed the rehab program as of date, which represent about 15 percent of the total surrenderers in Iloilo City.

“That’s good, we have 85 percent to go. If we can program some more, I’m sure that by the end of this three-year term we can complete the rehabilitation,” the mayor added. (PNA)

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