By Jason B. Neola
The national government is introducing a social reintegration program for drug surrenderers of which the processes involve the families and communities of the Recovering Persons Who Use Drugs (RPWUDs).
Called Yakap Bayan, the program undertakes holistic intervention to assist RPWUDs in their recovery journey from surrendering, to treatment or rehabilitation, to aftercare, and to social reintegration to their families and communities.
Aileen Alim, project development officer II of the Social Technology Unit of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Bicol Region, said that the vision of the program is to develop PWUDs from being surrenderers to community leaders.
“Yakap Bayan program aims not only to help them develop their skills but to prepare their respective families and communities as well for the social reintegration of RPWUDs who needs to become again productive members of society,” she said.
To be able to avail the services of Yakap Bayan, a drug personality must surrender first to government authorities, undergo the primary treatment by completing the Community-based Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Program offered by the LGUs and the out-patient program under the facilities of the Department of Health (DOH), and lastly, has to complete his/her stint in in-house treatment or drug treatment rehabilitation center.
Alim’s team has conducted on May 30-June 1, this year, the rollout training for Yakap Bayan with the members of the Naga City Anti-Drug Abuse Council or the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), the core group that is in the frontline to extend assistance to RPWUDs and their families in the social integration of the former.
Jose B. Importante, executive director of the Naga City Dangerous Drugs Board, sees that with the inclusion of RPWUDs’ family and community in the program more surrenderers will be reintegrated with the society.
He said: “stigma and discrimination usually being felt by RPWUDs often factors into the reasons why people who need help no longer seek care and services.”
Importante said Naga City has around 2,300 surrenderers whom they are going to register in the Yakap Bayan program which was launched early this year.
Outside Naga, the program is being implemented now in the municipalities of Buhi and Calabanga, Iriga City, in Donsol, Sorsogon, Paracale, Camarines Norte and the province of Albay.