Drug reformists now rescuers

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A total of 192 former drug surrenderers have graduated from their six-month “Yakap Bayan” rehabilitation and reformation training and are now rescuers and force multipliers by the Quezon police provincial office.

Quezon Police Provincial Office (QPPO) acting Provincial Director, Senior Supt. Rhoderick C. Armamento, led provincial government officials during the graduation rites of the drug reformists-turned-rescuers on Wednesday at the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) grandstand here.

The former drug surrenderers undertook their six-month rehabilitation program “Yakap Bayan” conducted by the QPPO with the full support from the provincial government through Governor David Suarez and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The “Yakap Bayan” rehabilitation was launched as one of the components of the Project U.S.A.D. (United Stand Against Dangerous Drugs) which aims to transform drug surrenderers in Quezon province into effective community leaders and advocates of disaster preparedness and emergency response.

The 192 reformists received their certificates from the QPPO, Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP),   Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) and the Quezon provincial government.

Thirty of them also received their certificate of completion from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for completing their driving lessons and skills training.

DSWD Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns Jose Antonio R. Hernandez and Quezon Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) chief Sonia S. Leyson also distributed family food packs and cash assistance of PHP 3,000 each as part of the incentives from the program.

As part of the “Yakap Bayan” rehabilitation and training, the drug surrenderers received medical and psychosocial services including detoxification and counseling, capacity-building and skills training, and their barangay or community immersion and services exposures during the center-based program and community-based reformation.

During the event, the rescuers also demonstrated their acquired training skills on Basic Fire Fighting Techniques, Disaster Preparedness Response, and TESDA Practical Driving and rendered their special choreographed dance presentation with the Yakap Bayan Technical Working Group forming a huge star to symbolize the light for the right direction and an inspiration to humanity.

Suarez congratulated the drug reformists turned rescuers for their renewed lives and as productive members of their respective communities and commended the QPPO police officials and personnel for the successful implementation of the Yakap Bayan program.

He also pledged to continue supporting the projects and programs of the Quezon police provincial command through provincial director Armamento especially in their mandate to secure and maintain peace and order in the province.

Presidential Adviser for Southern Tagalog Secretary Jose Ma.Nicomedes F. Hernandez also lauded efforts of the police, provincial government and the DSWD on their “Yakap Bayan” implementation on “Aftercare, Reintegration and Transformation Support for Recovering Drug Dependents” and its relevance and alliance with QPPO’s Project U.S.A.D.

Police Regional Office (PRO4A-Calabarzon) Director Chief Supt. Ma. O R. Aplasca hoped that the newly graduated rescuers will now become new partners and augment the PNP as force multipliers in strengthening disaster resilience and response to community needs.

Armamento thanked the local government, concerned agencies and non-government organizations for their continued support and vowed to continue the provincial police force’s various programs to more than 25,000 drug surrenderers and encourage the public to keep their support and actively participate in the anti-criminality campaign of the PNP for to attain a drug-free province.

Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo P. Burgos Jr., Commander, 202nd Infantry  (Unifier) Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division (2ID), Philippine Army; Jail Chief Supt. Efren A. Nemenio, BJMP 4A Regional Director; Fire Senior Supt. Sergio M Soriano, BFP Region 4A Regional Director; Dir. Manuel Q. Gotis, DILG-IVA Regional Director; Dir. Nenuca E. Tangonan, TESDA IV-A Regional Director, local government officials and other guests also graced the occasion. —Gideon Belen/PNA