After rehabilitation, former drug dependents who surrendered should be trained to become productive members of society as a means to keep them from falling into the habit of drug use again. And this is exactly what the Department of Social Welfare and Development hopes to accomplish under its new programme, Yakap Bayan.

It is the DSWD that will be responsible for rehabilitating and reintegrating the drug surrenderres back to their communities by training them into disaster rescuers who can be relied on to assist their communities in such instances.

“Former drug dependents will be used as instruments to strengthen the response capacity of communities during disasters. In this way, we give them a sense of responsibility and belonging,” DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said.

The Yakap Bayan programme will be implemented in stages during the first 6 months of the rehabilitation period of the surrenderees, introduced during the Rehabinasyon public forum.

Reintegration period, meanwhile, is projected at 18 months. These former drug users will begin livelihood skills training and capacity building on disaster response during this period.

The undertaking is a joint effort between DSWD and several other government agencies, which shall work with the surrenderees.

“They will be given medical and social services including detoxification and counseling services. At this stage, the former drug dependents are expected to participate in community services,” Secretary Taguiwalo said.

The DSWD heads the disaster response cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and will implement the Yakap Bayan programme under the mandate.

Presently, there are 1.3 million drug surrenderees, based on police statistics. Several drug rehabilitation centres have been put up nationwide to accommodate these drug users, but upon evaluation, it has been recommended that they can stay in their respective communities and get the necessary help there.

Finally, Secretary Taguiwalo reminded the public that surrenderees are fathers, mothers, children and siblings belonging to a family and community, and should be given the chance to contribute to nation-building. MIMS

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