Davao Region’s Only “Balay Silangan” Produces First Batch Of Graduates


Davao Oriental – Davao Region’s only established Balay Silangan Reformation Center which is situated in the City of Mati, province of Davao Oriental has produced its first batch of graduates.

Thirty-six (36) Persons Who Used Drugs (PWUDs) completed their six months rehabilitation at the Balay Silangan: Bagong Bahay para sa Bagong Buhay as they marched at their graduation ceremony on Thursday, July 28.

The PWUDs proudly received their certificate at their ceremony held at Honey’s Hotel Function Hall, City of Mati.

These PWUDs, who are beneficiaries of the government’s plea-bargaining deal, consist of 34 outpatients and two inpatients.

Over the course of six months, the PWUDs underwent a comprehensive rehabilitation at the Balay Silangan. These services include psychological, spiritual, physical activities such as counseling, moral recovery, values formation, personal and life skills, continued their education through Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System, and acquired competencies from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. They were also taught of various livelihood and employment opportunities.

One of the graduates named Allan said that Balay Silangan really helped them changed their perspectives in life. “I realized that there’s a need for me to prioritize myself aside from court orders and criminal charges,” he said.

Another graduate named Alex said that “From now on, I will walk the talk” as he shared his “dark past and he came to see the light” through the help of the government.

Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council Action Officer and Provincial Administrator Art Benjie C. Bulaong said that despite the limited resources, the provincial government under the leadership of Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang never stopped in providing alternatives to build and operationalize Balay Silangan to help drug-abuse patients rebuild their lives.

“This graduation ceremony and your certificates of completion are the testaments of your sincerity and commitment to change. Thank you for letting us help you rebuild your lives and for helping us build a better society,” said Mr. Bulaong.

He also recalled various significant accomplishments of the PADAC from where it began in council meetings into operationalization of its mission towards achieving the provincial government’s aspirations for a drug-free province.

On his virtual message, Dangerous Drugs Board Chairman Secretary Catalino S. Cuy salutes all the graduates for their determination to free themselves from the addiction of illegal drugs and by becoming better versions of themselves. “I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude and congratulations to the families, relatives and friends of our graduates. Your love and support are a big factor of their success today. Thank you for being their light in this life-changing journey,” Sec. Cuy said.

He also expressed his sincerest appreciations to the provincial government through the initiative of Gov. Dayanghirang for leading the establishment of Balay Silangan. “There is hope in recovery. Making our services and programs more accessible to the public would mean saving more lives,” said Sec. Cuy.

Governor Dayanghirang, through his office’s Chief of Staff Ednar Dayanghirang, congratulated all the graduates for leaving behind their past driven by illegal drugs and rebuilding back their lives not just for them and families but also for the whole Davao Oriental community. He said the government’s program is part of its commitment to implement a kind of government that is inclusive and benefits all.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency XI Assistant Regional Director Attorney Ben Joseph Tesiorna also graced the ceremony by representing PDEA Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva as Keynote Speaker.

Present also during the occasion are Department of the Interior and Local Government Davao Oriental provincial director Orle Cabaobao, TESDA Davao Oriental provincial director Leah Braga, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Engr. Jesusa Timbang and Provincial Agriculturist Rotchie M. Ravelo, to name a few.

PADAC action officer Bulaong said that on the following months, the second batch will graduate at Balay Silangan.

The Balay Silangan, since its establishment in 2018, has served as a reformation center to transform drug offenders into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of the society. (Van Jorain Rufin)

(Source: The Official Website of the Province of Davao Oriental)

(Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan)

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