THROUGH an innovative police-community partnership, reformed drug dealers and users in Central Mindanao may prove after all that there is still life after drugs.
For their feat, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. Dela Rosa has commended the Police Regional Office 12 headed by Chief Superintendent Cedrick G. Train for having one of the best practices in the government’s anti-drug drive which he said can be replicated nationwide in order to effectively address illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
Train conceptualized the PRO12’s Balik-Pag-Asa Program for Surfacing Drug Personalities in which he has tapped the help of the academe, the business community and other Good Samaritans in providing free skills and livelihood training to confessed drug personalities in the region as soon as they have surrendered in line with the ongoing PNP Oplan: Tokhang.
Under the program, those who have surrendered thru Oplan: Tokhang are given free training by professionals on metal-welding, hair-dressing and beauty care, hollow-block making, carpentry and farming. They are also required to undergo moral and spiritual enrichment programs to turn them into better persons.
A month after they surrendered in line with the PNP Oplan: Tokhang, many former drug peddlers and addicts in the region are now getting the free training which could turn them into skilled workers as soon as they graduate.
One of the main sponsors of the program, Warren Manilay, the president of Golden State College in General Santos City said that in partnership with other groups, they have designed skills and livelihood training for the drug surrenderees.
He said that the surrenderees must prove that they are no longer involved in any illegal drug activities by finishing the courses and earning out of it in the future. In the event that they are proven to be earning already as a result of their being barbers, welders or carpenters, their names would be stricken off the list of drug personalities in the region.
Contrary to the perception of some sectors of the society, Gen. de la Rosa said their Oplan: Tokhang and Project: Double Barrel has resulted in the surrender of a great number of confessed drug dealers and users compared to the number of armed drug suspects killed in gun battles with anti-narcotics officers.