Home of Transformation: Better Access to Rehabilitation Services with Valenzuela City’s “Balai Banyuhay”
2020-02-14 
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To honor the commitment to provide a safe haven for drug users and surrenderees and allow them to recover from the devastating cycle of addiction, the City Government of Valenzuela opens the Valenzuela City Drug Rehabilitation and Treatment Center or “Balai Banyuhay” on February 14, 2020 at Brgy. Punturin, Valenzuela City.

As the first drug rehabilitation center in the City, Mayor REX Gatchalian continuously intensifies not only the anti-illegal drugs drive but also the reintegration initiatives to give hope to drug dependents, with the creation of a reformatory center to provide for an effective and comprehensive drug rehabilitation program.

Comprehensive services

A hotel-inspired visitor lounge, a fully-equipped health facility, spacious lecture rooms and facilities complying with the service capability standards set forth by the Department of Health (DOH) when it comes to drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers -- Balai Banyuhay, with “balai” meaning home and “banyuhay” as “bagong anyo ng buhay” or metamorphosis, sets the caliber for a top-notch rehab center in the country.

The facility is anchored on the City’s vision that drug dependents will have a hope to eventually become productive members of the community. It is a testament of the City’s utmost support to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and is aligned with the goal of having all thirty-three (33) barangays declared as drug-free.

Mandated by City Ordinance No. 603 S. 2019 creating Balai Banyuhay, Valenzuela Anti-Drug Abuse Council (VADAC) Action Officer Atty. Walter Magnum dela Cruz expressed that the center shall “be a symbol of a new hope and new life for those who fell into the ills of drug addiction, an advocacy that made the City’s dreams into a reality.”

Under the ordinance, cost of care and maintenance for applicant drug dependents may reach from Php 3,900 for Valenzuela City residents up to Php 15,000 a month for non-residents – the fee being determined by the monthly income of the immediate family depending on the poverty threshold.

One of the facilities of the new five-storey building include an outpatient recovery clinic, a clinical lab section, a nurse’s station, a psychology/social workers section, a kitchen, a learning center, a PDEA office, classrooms and a full-sized basketball court, to name a few.

“It is awe-inspiring to see the local government creating a new beginning for our [drug] surrenderees. Your investment for the Balai Banyuhay shows foresight as this is among the investments of the City that will pave the way for an inclusive future for Valenzuelanos,” Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Maria Lourdes Agustin said during the center’s inauguration and blessing ceremonies.

“Valenzuela has been in the forefront of ending illegal drugs in NCR with its VC Cares Plus program… It is my hope that Balai Banyuhay will also spark transformation in other LGUs and inspire them to make their own innovations for their people,” Director Agustin added.

Bridging the gap

Throughout the years, Valenzuela City has already instituted a number of programs for rehabilitation as a response to the national campaign to fight illegal drugs.

Valenzuela City (VC) Cares Plus, a program that caters to drug surrenderees through the VADAC and one of the best practices of the City, implemented appropriate rehabilitation interventions ensuring that the highest care and respect be given to all of its clients. Part of the project includes a community-based wellness program, livelihood packages and a six-month long rehab program.

Now with Balai Banyuhay, rehabilitation services are now made more accessible and more complete to address the issue on providing effective and sustainable after-care services for drug surrenderees. 

Nestled in a 2,600 sqm lot area in Brgy. Punturin, Balai Banyuhay was initially funded by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian in the amount of Php 50 million, where the remaining funding came from the local government which makes the drug rehab center as a local-national partnership. Including funding for the site development, Php 115 million was invested by Valenzuela City to pave way to an inclusive and comprehensive drug rehabilitation facility.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron N. Aquino had a chance to tour the entire facility during the inauguration, saying that a drug offender seeking for rehabilitation services will find the facility “Very beautiful, not like a jail or treatment facility but more of a hotel. Everything is complete, even so more than complete.”

Unlike drug rehab centers in other parts of the country, Balai Banyuhay also serves as the first vertical facility maximizing the space available to make use of the remaining land in the city proper. The rehab center will surely serve as a house of transformation as it sees to it that medical, psychotherapeutic, psychosocial, spiritual, or evidence-based treatment is given to its clients.   

"This is the mandate to us by the national governent... Giving a new life to clients so we can make sure that we can bring them back to be productive members of the community... This is the new home that we will open, a symbol of hope to all Valenzuelanos that even though your life gets off-track, we can still help you to be part of the community with the hope that you are still a part of our city-building," Mayor REX concluded during the inauguration ceremonies which also marks the 22nd Charter Day of Valenzuela City.

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2020-02-14 | By: Janine Aguarino & Angelica Porciuncula / Public Information Office

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