Family support and community acceptance are the main motivation of drug surrenders (DS) in the province in their journey towards renewed life.
Studies show that recovery from drug addiction is a long process, and very often, lack of family and community acceptance and support contribute to relapse of many drug users.
Fortunately for the drug surrenderers who have finished their six-months rehabilitation activities at the Ifugao Reflection Camp, their families and their communities support them. This is a main factor why there is no slide down among the first 109 DS graduates of IRC who are now undergoing the 18-month aftercare activities.
“The stigma of being rejected in the community and family turned into understanding and love,” shared two DS from Lagawe.
At first they felt rejected however, when they show their sincerity to mend their lives by enrolling at the IRC, they started gaining back the trust and confidence of their loved ones.
“The people in the community keep encouraging us to continue the journey that we have started towards a renewed life. They also encourage us to be members of the Barangay Anti-drug Abuse Council (BADAC) which we did,” they added.
Mario (not his real name) narrated that he started using the illegal substance in 2009. He sold his valuables and spent his savings to finance his addiction which incurred the ire of his family. It was a difficult process but he showed he is sincere to reform by willingly undergoing rehabilitation.
“They are helping me to rise again by giving financial assistance that would support my livelihood endeavor while undergoing the aftercare activities,” he revealed.
Presently, he is tending his two tricycles supported by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the province.
Ana (not her real name) on the other hand, shared that her friends introduced the illegal drugs to her. “We bought the drug through contributions among ourselves, at first I thought it has medical value until I became addicted,” she narrated.
Her affair with the illegal drugs came to an end when the government started its anti-drug campaign through the “Oplan Tokhang” of the Philippine National Police advising drug personalities to surrender.
“At first we are hesitant to surrender for fear of being jailed or to the extent of being killed but authorities explained to us the benefits of surrendering and enrolling at the IRC. At the camp we undertook the reformatory activities provided to us that led to our reformation,” she stated.
Currently, she is busy with her flower business in partnership with her children. This endeavor is supported by the DOLE by providing makeshift roofing.
She is regularly invited in trade fairs in the municipality sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry and the local government unit.
Mario and Ana lauded the Duterte administration and the people behind the establishment of the IRC that helped them turned into productive citizens. Other drug surrenderers in the province are now fire brigade volunteers or active community leaders.
The road to total recovery may be long but with their families and communities behind them, these drug surrenders are looking forward for a better tomorrow. Marcelo B. Lihgawon (JDP/MBL- PIA CAR, Ifugao)