AFP IN WAR ON DRUGS – Now that President Rodrigo Duterte has tapped the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the war on drugs, will the AFP change its mind about lending a part of the Camp Abat military reservation in Manaoag as a drug rehab center/boot camp for drug surrenderers?
Many in Pangasinan are hoping that the AFP will have a change of heart because with the pronouncement of President Duterte that the AFP will now be involved in running after drug lords and their minions, drug dealers and pushers, it will realize that there is a pressing need to find a place where the drug users, especially those lightly and moderately affected, can be rehabilitated.
A bigger rehab center is needed in Pangasinan as the two-hectare land in Barangay San Vicente, Burgos, donated on January 30 by the Cabiles family is just enough to accommodate a few hundred drug surrenderers in several batches.
The Pangasinan Police said there are 19,090 drug surrenderers in the province, which means it would take more than the remaining term of President Duterte to finish the rehabilitation of all those hooked into drugs here.
Probably, the President was right in trusting the AFP more in finishing the war on drugs than the police (and NBI), which he personally considers “rotten to the core”, given the magnitude of the drug problem in the country today.
Incidentally, the Philippines will not be the first country in the world to use its armed forces in running after drug dealers. We follow a series on foreign TV about the Los Marinos of Mexico fighting not only terrorists but also members of drug cartels in their country.
With both the PDEA and AFP given the green light to partner in flushing out the drug pushers on the streets, this only confirms the President’s appreciation of the drug problem today, that it is a threat to national security. Who else can best take care of national security but the AFP?
Incidentally, please don’t forget that it was former Vice Governor Gonzalo Duque, who first initiated the initial construction of the Burgos Rehabilitation Center sometime in the 1990s at a time when the country’s illegal drug was not so big a problem. At that time marijuana was the most abused substance in use among the youth.
Note that Atty. Duque and Governor Rafael Colet already had in mind the need for a drug rehabilitation center that could help in the healing of drug addicts so that they can rejoin society as productive citizens.
With the help of some senators of the republic, particularly Joseph Estrada, Rene Saguisag and Joker Arroyo, they both began to build the center. The construction stopped when both left the provincial government and the next leaders did not see the need for a rehab center as a priority.
They did not even have the courtesy of acknowledging the donated land. – Leonardo Micua
EMPOWERING ABUSED WIVES – Abused wives in Dagupan City, those facing crisis now have a halfway home, a place they can run to. The Women Center in Barangay Poblacion Oeste was inaugurated on January. 19.
I visited it last week to see how it is. But wait, I went there not as client but as a curious reporter.
The Center is nice, the rooms appear very comfortable, clean and relaxing. The staff is warm and cordial. It has an ambience of a real home.
City Population Officer Leah Langit, in-charge of the Center, said women in distress are allowed to stay for three days at the Center while they are given counseling and guidance by a licensed social worker, psychologist, nurse, house parent and two nuns for values formation.
“The objective always is to unite the family,” Langit said. She said the pain and hurt being suffered by a wife and mother in crisis are processed to enable her to return to her family easier by making the husband and other members of her family part of the process.
The abuses may range from physical, emotional, financial, verbal, she said.
“Now, they have a place to go to where they can be guided. We have rooms here that can accommodate 10 women-clients at the same time,” she said. The Center operates 24 hours.
Langit said it is also a center for livelihood trainings for women. It has a big hall where seminars and trainings are conducted to empower them.
“I am filled with joy that we have finally realized our dream of building a center for the welfare and protection of women in our city, which is one of our priority projects in our administration,” Mayor Belen Fernandez said during its opening.
The Women Center ‘s operating costs are shouldered by the city government, Fernandez added.
In collaboration with Dagupan-Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas, a group of nuns will also help in the center for values formation for women and help the city in its campaign against prostitution, read the press release from the City Information Office.
But wait. Isn’t the Center a duplication of The Haven for Women managed by DWSD, I asked.
Langit said The Haven in Barangay Bonuan Binloc is open to abused women in Region 1 under the auspices of Department of Social Welfare and Development, but the Women Center is solely for Dagupan residents.
“This is locally operated,” she said.
But wait, I asked again, “What about the young and single brokenhearted women? Is the Center open to them, too?”
Langit said single women experiencing emotional pain can be helped by the Center’s psychologist and social worker. That would be great. They’re lucky to have a second home while nursing emotional pain.
But there is one thing I learned that social workers and psychologists don’t do when they work – they do not cry when the client is narrating her sad, traumatic story.
Di ako pwede sa ganun. Laglag agad luha ko. —Tita Roces