BARMM rehab center opens in Maguindanao

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COTABATO CITY – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and local officials in the Maguindanao town of Sultan Kudarat opened Friday the Balay Silangan Reformation and Treatment Center for Drug Law Offenders that will serve the entire Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Mayor Shameem Mastura of Sultan Kudarat and PDEA-BARMM deputy regional director Marlon Santos led the formal opening of the facility.

Santos said programs in the “Balay Silangan” will be implemented in three phases that include the explanation and dissemination of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) and other related laws to former drug personalities.

The second phase includes the development of personal and life skills of the “reformists”, while the third and final stage focuses on livelihood programs to prepare former drug dependents in their return to the mainstream society.

Sultan Kudarat has recorded 951 drug surrenderers during the implementation of the police “Oplan Tokhang” (knock-appeal) for the past two years.

Santos said of the 951 former drug personalities, 30 will take the “first step” in the life-changing process into becoming productive, self-sufficient and law abiding citizens.

“The reformatory process is the government’s post-anti-drug operation program to give chance to drug personalities take once more the right path to life,” he said in an interview on Saturday.

Santos said the reformation center will provide various livelihood training skills that include electrical wiring, welding, food production/processing, driving, and machinery operating programs, among others.

The program is also integrated with values formation and social norms that will prepare them for their reintegration to the society. –PNA

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