Issue of September 2, 2018
Mt. Province

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Benguet mulls on establishing Balay Silangan for surrenderees
by PIA release

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial government  will look  into the establishment of a haven for drug offenders  under the government’s Balay Silangan program to help reform drug surrenderees and ensure that they do not go back to their old ways, as well as to empower them.

Balay Silangan, which was launched early this year, is a national drug re-formation program which offers temporary refuge to drug offenders for them to become self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.

Dangerous Drugs Board Resolution 2 s. 2018 issued on Jan. 24 contains the guidelines in undertaking the Balay Silangan.

During the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting, Gov. Crescencio Pacalso said the provincial government will consider establishing a Balay Silangan and look for a suitable area which may be used as a dormitory. He said he will also consider the construction of a training center for drug surrenderees.

PDEA Baguio-Benguet Provincial Officer Charlton Carame said under the program, former drug offenders will be trained on livelihood projects and given Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-accreditation and certificate of completion. 

Carame said the program entails holistic approach. Topics to be discussed during the training  include knowledge on illegal drugs and its ill effects and awareness on Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, counseling/consultative meetings, moral recovery activities, personal and life skills training, community service, family visits, livelihood, or employment education.

Dangerous Drugs Board Regulations Officer Rossel Sarmiento who presented a briefing on the program said those qualified to avail of the program are drug personalities who surrendered with no pending criminal case, warrant of arrest, and not a high value target; drug personalities who availed of the plea bargaining agreement and/or convicted under Section 15 (second time offenders) of RA 9165; and drug personalities who served jail terms for violation of RA 9165.

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