The City Government of Valenzuela City launches another innovation in local governance with the pilot run of mobile drug-testing as part of Valenzuelano Ayaw sa Droga (VAD) Reloaded’s Tokhang-on-Wheels one-stop-shop caravan, April 3, 2017, in Barangay Wawang Pulo.
Advance testing kits are being used in the program to obtain results instantly. Such initiative is a first of its kind in the Philippines and is expected to draw supports from the local and national agencies, as well as the communities. Around 179 individuals surrendered themselves to the procedure on the first day. Expert city doctors who are accredited by the Department of Health (DOH) to perform drug dependency evaluation (DDE) assessed those who have turned positive. Following the principles of the city’s comprehensive anti-drug support program, the Valenzuela City Cares Plus, or simply, VC Cares Plus, they will either be sent to a center-based or a community-based rehabilitation.
Following the implementation of Oplan Tokhang 2: Project Double Barrel Reloaded, the local government re-acquainted its local police force on drug clearing operation procedures. On April 1, through the Valenzuela City Police Station (VCPS) the house-to-house clearing operations was resumed through teams composed of local policemen, personnel from the Valenzuela Anti-Drug Abuse Council (VADAC) and City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO),local health department’s accredited doctors, local barangay officials, and allied spiritual leaders. The teams are deployed in five strategic clusters in the city.
They will spend three to five days per area or until all communities in that areahave been covered. Recorded surrenderees shall then be endorsed to the Tokhang-on-Wheels one-stop-shop which is scheduled to make rounds based on referred number of individuals. It is composed of vans and booths for drug-testing, drug dependency evaluation, medical checkup, social welfare assessment and spiritual counseling.
VADAC Action Officer, Councilor Antonio Espiritu encouraged the surenderees to completely turn their back against the use of illegal drugs and promised them and their families jobs after their rehabilitation program. “This one-stop-shop is faster and more convenient to our patients. They don’t have to go to different places anymore after they surrendered, instead, they just have to go to the one-stop shop and go through the assessment processes conveniently”, Espiritu added.
In related development, the 142 patients who the local government sent for rehabilitation last year in Central Luzon Rehabilitation Center in Magalang, Pampanga are all expected to graduate on May 10. They will undergo an aftercare and community reintegration program.
The next batch of about 370 surrenderees will be transferred to the state-run center in Nueva Ecija in the coming weeks.
VAD Reloaded will be conducted in four phases. The first phase is drug clearing operations, after which, the surrenderees will undergo (2) community and service-oriented policing before (3) rehabilitation phase takes place and ultimately,(4) the development and monitoring phase.
From July 1, 2016 to March 29, VCPS has recorded a running total of 2,283 surrenderees who have undergone DDE. 595 were assessed for rehabilitation, 1,655 for community-based wellness program, while the remaining 19 were assessed for psychological evaluation.