By Chito Chavez
The increasing number of solvent sniffing mendicants, mostly teenagers, has prompted the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to start a program to have them confined in government institutions to address their addiction.
At 9:15 p.m. on Thursday, PDEA started a reach-out campaign under Oplan Sagip Batang Solvent in Barangay San Agustin and Barangay Nova Proper, Novaliches, Quezon City.
PDEA spokesman Derrick Arnold Carreon explained the activity, which will last until June 17, 2019 covers street dwellers, including children/minors, adults, and elderly.
He noted that all reached-out clients will be assessed, referred to proper institution, and admitted to Project Sagip Batang Solvent (PSBS) reformation center once identified as solvent user.
A special project of PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino, Oplan Sagip Batang Solvent aims to rescue street children hooked on solvent sniffing, provide shelter, reformative and reintegrated interventions, and develop resistance to drug use in order to become productive citizens in the future.
This initiative is meant to address the call of the state to promote and protect the well-being of the youth.
“With the increasing number of out-of-school youth and young people becoming addicted to prohibited substances, the country is confronted with the fear of losing its hope, the youth. If we let them roam the streets, they will be the future enemy of the State,” Aquino pointed out.
He said that intervention activities to prevent the use of illegal drugs are needed “before the matter gets out of hand.’’
The implementation of Project Sagip Batang Solvent (PSBS) is in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Quezon City Social Services and Development Department (SSDD), Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (QCADAC), Barangay Community Relations Department (BCRD), Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), Barangay Council for Protection of Children (BCPC), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Carreon said this is the first and one of the many anti-drug advocacy programs implemented by PDEA through “Director General Aaron N. Aquino who envisions the project as one of the measures to prevent juvenile delinquency.’’
On March 25, 2019, Aquino and Quezon City Mayor elect Joy Belmonte signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build an outreach rehabilitation center “Bahay Pangarap” in Clemente Subdivision, Barangay San Agustin, Novaliches, Quezon City.
This is PDEA’s pilot residential reformation center for rescued solvent-inhaling street children which will serve as a model facility to be established in the different cities and municipalities across the country.
Under the MOU, the “Bahay Pangarap” building will be transformed into “Sagip Batang Solvent Reformation Center,” an initiative of Aquino to keep children off the streets and away from being involved in illegal drug activities and drug use.