DAVAO ORIENTAL – For its groundbreaking initiatives that made huge impacts in the province’s fight against illegal drugs, the Province of Davao Oriental has once again been recognized as one of the country’s top performers in the intensified anti-drugs campaign.
For being a National Performance awardee, Governor Nelson Dayanghirang personally received on Monday, November 16, the Plaque of Commendation from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) during the 2019 Anti-Drug Abuse Council Performance Award Ceremony held in Manila. The prestigious award was conferred by no less than DILG Secretary Eduardo Año and the Chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board Secretary Catalino Cuy along with the department’s other top officials.
The Performance Award is given to local government units whose Anti-Drug Abuse Councils have ideal functionality scores and have maintained or decreased its drug affectation as reported by the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Based on the audit result conducted by the national audit team, the province’s ADAC was adjudged to have a “perfect ideal functionality”. Out of 1,715 local government units composed of provinces, cities, and municipalities, Davao Oriental emerged as one of the 155 LGUs which garnered a perfect score of 100.
The national audit team is chaired by the DILG and is composed of national representatives from the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Caritas Manila as civil society organization.
Governor Dayanghirang, who received the award for the second time, has dedicated the highly coveted award to the members of his province’s Anti-Drug Abuse Council consisting of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine Army, and the Department of Health, among many others.
“This is not my work but the product of the sacrifices and the hard work of all those behind our successful campaign,” said Governor Nelson Dayanghirang.
The province’s new award has been attributed to its active and notable campaign against illegal drugs, particularly the establishment of the Balay Silangan: Bagong Bahay Para sa Bagong Buhay (B4) for drug reformists, which is considered to be Davao Region’s first Provincial Government-run drug rehabilitation facility.
The Balay Silangan, which currently houses 39 patients, is a drug reformatory facility mandated under the Dangerous Drugs Board which bids to provide comprehensive care and rehabilitation to treat them from drug addiction.
While most of the residents are those under the plea-bargaining program, they are receiving subsidy from the government for their rehabilitation expenses, leaving them to pay a minimum amount as counterpart. Outpatient clients only pay P6,000 per month while inpatient clients pay P15,000 monthly as their counterpart said Provincial Administrator and Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council Action Officer Art Benjie Bulaong, who accompanied the Governor during the awarding ceremony.
While running the drug rehabilitation facility which is the first of its kind in the Davao Region, Davao Oriental also implements the Lihok Nagkahiusang Lumulupyo Kontra Droga (Lihok NLD), which is a flagship program of the Provincial Government against drugs.
Currently, there are 8,686 drug offenders in Davao Oriental who voluntarily surrendered to authorities and are now being subjected to the Community-based rehabilitation program.
To date, the Provincial Government continues to beef up its efforts to fight the menace of illegal drugs as Governor Dayanghirang intensifies its collaboration efforts with concerned agencies and LGUs. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photos Courtesy of Art Benjie Bulaong