BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance establishing a city rehabilitation center and halfway house and appropriating funds for its operation.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Edgar M. Avila stated the rehabilitation center and halfway house will be under the joint management and supervision of the City Social Welfare and Development Office, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Education.
The rehabilitation center-cum-halfway house shall serve as shelter for drug and other substance abuse victims, marginalized youth, young criminal offenders, the homeless or victims of domestic violence, and youth and children in difficult situations, including those who may be considered as wards qualified for institutional commitment under Presidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as the Child and Youth Welfare code.
The ordinance added the amount necessary for the establishment of this facility, or the improvement, refurbishing, restoration, or completion of those already existing, and the initial operations and management of such facilities, shall be charged equally to the respective appropriations of the City Social Welfare and Development Office, the health and education departments, beginning the year immediately following the approval of the measure; provided that, the cost of construction, improvement, refurbishing, restoration or completion of the rehabilitation center shall not exceed P30 million, and the total amount of such construction, improvement, refurbishing, restoration or completion in all the regions shall not exceed P50 million pro-prated over a 3-year program.
Avila claimed the site of the rehabilitation center shall be selected by the City Mayor in consultation with the members of the City Council, the heads of departments of the City Social Welfare and Development Office, the regional directors of the health and education departments and the punong barangays concerned or affected.
It was learned that the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CADAC) recognized the urgent need for this kind of facility in the city to serve the rapidly increasing number of suspected drug pushers and users who have voluntarily surrendered to authorities and committed to live a reformed life and abandoned the use of prohibited drugs.
Among the factors identified in the increasing number of children in conflict with the law and those involved in substance abuse are poverty, lack of education, drug or substance abuse, crime, vice and a general sense of hopelessness.
Avila said there is a need to establish the long-overdue rehabilitation center to partly solve to the problem of limited accommodation available for drug surrenderees and youth who have been arrested for various crimes.
By Dexter A. See