Through the collaborative efforts of Governor Joseph Cua, RTC Executive Judge Lelu Contreras, and PNP Provincial Director PSSupt. Jesus Martirez, Catanduanes leads to being the first in the country to launch a well-organized treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration program for Surrendering Drug Users (SDUs).
With the increasing number of SDUs nationwide and intending to effectively address the expected rise in number of SDUs in the province in the latter part of 2016, the three had an urgent meeting together with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Hazel Palmes earlier in July to establish a program regarding the matter. The meeting led to the formulation of Catanduanes’ coined Community Based Treatment and Rehabilitation (CBTR) Program. CBTR formally started last July 18 and is now on its third level according to Dr. Palmes.
Under the Executive Order No. 20 s. 2016, the CBTR technical working group comprises of Governor Joseph Cua as chairperson and RTC Executive Judge Lelu Contreras as vice chairperson.
In Sept. 23, 74 SDUs were already issued court orders to undergo the said program and seven of them are to be referred to Malinao Rehabilitation Center for a six-month rehabilitation process. Catanduanes, in partnership with PhilHealth, strives to cover the medical expenses of the CBTR program recipients. At present, the drug detoxification process is already covered by PhilHealth.
Drug users in the province are encouraged to surrender voluntarily as soon as possible for them to be enlisted in the program. Surrenderees to completely undergo and finish the program will be able to clear their names from the PNP watchlist and be totally discharged from their cases.
In a meeting on Friday September 23, Catanduanes was to finalize an action plan regarding the anti-drug campaign which will be presented to the Sulong Pilipinas: Local Governance Dialogues on October 4 at Makati City that will be participated by all provincial governors, vice governors, mayors and liga ng mga barangay, PNP and DILG regional and provincial directors of South Luzon area.
The series of dialogues aim to strengthen the links between the LGUs and the PNP, as well as mobilize community participation toward a more peaceful, safe and socially developed local governments. It will also serve as venue for all the key leaders in the provinces to discuss and craft action plans to improve the peace and order situation in their respective areas, as a prerequisite in promoting social development at the local level.
The participants are expected to accomplish their action plans per province, which will be reported and consolidated by region at the end of the workshop. The output of the workshops will form part of the Sulong Pilipinas Action Plan (Peace and Order) to be presented in Nov. 2016. (Marla Bagadiong (PIMO)