Mayor Evelio Leonardia led the inauguration and blessing of the Balay Silangan Reformation Facility, a drug reformation center that will be operated by the city government and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Wednesday, July 21.
The two-storey Balay Silangan facility in Bacolod City is the first in the Visayas and the second in the country.
The P5 million facility is situated at the back of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) compound, at Lacson Extension in Barangay Singcang-Airport.
“I am so glad that we have this kind of facility, because it is badly needed. This is all about reformation and giving second chances to drug offenders”, Leonardia said.
Project Engineer Amy Tentia said the fund was taken from the City Mayor’s Office – Other Structures 2018 budget. Construction started on March 28, 2019 and was completed on March 20, 2020.
Leonardia added, “It is a great thing that it happened here in Bacolod – being a pilot city again. There are only four pilot areas for this project: Nueva Ecija for Luzon, Caloocan City for National Capital Region (NCR), Malungon (in Sarangani Province) for Mindanao, and Bacolod City for the Visayas.”
Balay Silangan is a community-based reformation program aimed at rehabilitating surrendered drug personalities across the country. The program builds temporary shelters for drug offenders with the objective of reforming them into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society, a press release from the Bacolod Public Information Office said.
“The program is reformatory in nature. It is an alternative intervention for drug personalities who are not users and are not eligible to undergo medical treatment and rehabilitation in facilities supervised by the Department of Health (DOH),” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino had said in an earlier press statement.
Also at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and unveiling of marker were PDEA-6 Assistant Regional Director Donelyn Hermedez, PDEA-Negros Occidental Provincial Director Nicolas Gomez and Bacolod City officials.
Leonardia said the Bacolod City government is also currently constructing a P35 million Bacolod City Drug Rehabilitation Center in Barangay Alijis.
He said P15 million will come from the Dangerous Drugs Board, while the P20 million is from the city government.
The rehabilitation center will cater to drug surrenderers with severe substance use disorder.
“Now our city has the facilities that can help our anti-illegal drugs program, and that we have a solid contribution to the program. We hope that our campaign will be successful,” Leonardia added.*