By Chito Chavez
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said it is set to soon launch a project that is geared towards saving street children hooked on sniffing solvents.
PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino explained that “Sagip Batang Solvent” will rescue solvent-sniffing street children, and provide them relief from their addiction so that they could become productive citizens in the future.
He noted the primary objectives of Sagip Batang Solvent which are: “to save children involved in illegal drug activities (CIIDs); to provide shelter/facility to CIIDs; to provide reformative and reintegrated interventions to CIIDs; to develop resistance to drug use among CIIDs; and to change CIIDs to productive citizens.”
“Just go around the thoroughfares of metropolis and you see children sniffing inhalants like a normal display of feat,” Aquino said.
The PDEA chief is credited to have conceptualized the project.
“These would-be drug dependent young adults and citizens. Aren’t we afraid of waking up one day in a country already gobbled up by illegal drug activities?” Aquino asked.
Aquino said these children will be provided with reformative and reintegrated interventions like education, counselling, and values formation, skills development, livelihood and entrepreneurship training.
Besides rescuing solvent-inhaling street children, Aquino views the project as one of the measures to prevent juvenile delinquency.
According the PDEA chief, PDEA will establish a model reformation center for the rescued “batang’’ solvent to be completed in February 2019.
The pilot reformation center will be in a rented facility in Quezon City which will have bedrooms, mess hall, kitchen, comfort rooms, receiving and entertainment room, study room, library, multipurpose hall, music room, garden, playground, security and staff to manage the facility.
“This will be supported by PDEA for a year whose priority targets are male and female children aged 10 years old and below,” he added.
Aquino pointed out that PDEA aims to establish a “batang’’ solvent reformation center in each of the regional offices nationwide.
PDEA will tap other government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders as partners in this initiative.