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Argao drug surrenderers to graduate from program

CEBU, Philippines — Five hundred drug surrenderers are set to graduate two weeks from now as part of the highlights of the 229th fiesta celebration of Argao town.

They represent around 29 percent of the 1,747 drug surrenderers of the town who voluntarily subjected themselves to a four-month community-based rehabilitation program offered by the municipal government.

Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero said that starting the rehabilitation program can already be counted as a success, but he advised against replicating it already in the rest of the province.

“It would be too early. Maybe we should give it time so that we’ll know the pros and cons of the program. We have not fully studied the dimensions of the program. I would rather prefer that the province wait for a while,” he said.

He also said they are still “trailblazing” as a local government unit faced with a “battle that we are unprepared (for).”

“This is more complex than we thought to triumph. Even the president said so, himself,” Caminero said.

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The community-based treatment Argao is implementing is patterned after that of Argao is patterned after that of San Remigio town’s program that the Department of Health, Cebu Province Anti-Drug and Abuse Office, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Philippine Drug Agency approved.

Consultant Bertel Aballe identified seven interventions that have to be fulfilled in developing an effective CBT for drug surrenderers. These are therapy and treatment, physical exercise, community service, matrix intensive out-patient (MIOP) treatment, health lectures, values formation, and counseling.

“Ours is a complete system approved by multiple government agencies,” Aballe said.

Aballe was CBT consultant for San Remigio prior to his assignment. He shared that the program template was also adopted by Sogod, Kanlaon City, and in Carmen, Cebu. The program is also eyed by the local government units of Catmon and Ubay, Bohol.  (FREEMAN)

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