By Kate Louise Javier
Some 41 former drug dependents who recently graduated from rehabilitation received P20,000 each from the city government of Valenzuela to let them start their small business.
The 41 former drug users were part of the second batch of rehabilitation graduates under the Valenzuela City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (VADAC). They were sent to Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Nueva Ejica for six months.
Valenzuela City Public Information Office head Zyan Caiña said the grant, a form of loanable amount from partner cooperatives, was doubled this time as a “reward to the graduates who underwent a harder program.”
“We only gave P10,000 to our first batch. But as the program gets harder, the city government also gave bigger reward. We want to assure that their lives will be fully transformed,” Caiña told the Manila Bulletin.
One of the graduates was 35-year-old Russel Santos, a resident of Barangay Dalandanan. He used to take illegal drugs since high school until the day he voluntarily submitted himself to the rehabilitation.
The financial assistance given to them was part of the after-care program that seeks the welfare of drug personalities under the city’s Comprehensive Anti-Drug Support Program, the VC Cares Plus.
Atty. Bimbo Dela Cruz, VADAC action officer, said the graduates will undergo a six-month monitoring to ensure their drug-free status. They will also undergo trainings and seminars to better handle their finances.
In February, the rehabilitation program of Valenzuela City was cited as one of the top 3 best rehabilitation programs in the National Capital Region (NCR) during the 27th Philippine National Police founding anniversary.
“The city government gives equal weight to enforcement and after care. We will continue to enhance our after-care program to truly reform our former dependents and convert them to productive members of the city,” Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian said.