“I will never do it again.”

This is the recurring pledge of drug surrenderers who are current clients of the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (CADAC) of Davao City.

CADAC developed CBRAP or Community Based Rehabilitation and Aftercare Program and TARA NA or Tabangan Atong Reformists Aron Naay Asenso (Help Reformists Towards Progress). These two initiatives provide support and guidance to prevent recurrence of drug abuse and achieve a holistic recovery for persons with drug problems.

CBRAP and TARA NA help recovering drug personalities become self-reliant through educational, vocational, social, spiritual, and other appropriate programs in preparation for their eventual reintegration into the community.

Stories of transformation

Davao City CADAC clients, like Nisa, Lye, Riga, and Daniel, shared their stories, vowing to never touch nor sell drugs ever again.

Nisa, 32, a former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) narrated that selling drugs “ruins your future.” Now on her road to transformation, she is excited to reunite with her mother.

Arrested during a drug buy-bust operation, Nisa was able to avail of financial and transportation assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Determined to be productive, she finished Grade 6 through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education (DepEd), while in jail. Currently, she reports to CADAC every Friday for drug test, weekly therapeutic activities, and spiritual enhancement.

Meanwhile, Lye, 38, with a child, was in prison for almost five years. She admitted that she learned a lot from her experience. After being released from jail on March 5, she has become an advocate of the government’s anti-drugs campaign.

Lye is required to report to CADAC within the next six months and then to her barangay to render community service.

Another recovering drug personality, Riga, a mother of three, is now slowly finding her way back to a normal life after being hooked on drugs.  She confessed that during the time she was addicted to drugs, she was unable to perform her responsibilities as a wife and mother, and even stopped taking care of herself.

Upon surrendering, Riga signed a document stating that she has to report to her barangay on certain days. She became a beneficiary of the One Thread Project of the University of the Immaculate Concepcion (UIC) where she learned sewing and shirt-making, which is now her source of livelihood.

On the other hand, Daniel, 33, is willing to facilitate sharing sessions in his community to help drug dependents overcome their addiction.

“I am proud to say that I have triumphed over drug addiction. Now, I am happy with my life and no one can convince me to use illegal drugs again,” he emphasized.

Help from DSWD, partners

To help recovering drug personalities on their road to recovery, DSWD’s Yakap Bayan Framework of Intervention provides various services for them.

Yakap Bayan is an intervention led by DSWD which aims to weave together all existing government programs, projects, resources, and activities in order to create a holistic and sustainable approach for the rehabilitation, aftercare, reintegration, and provision of support systems for recovering drug personalities, their families, and their communities      

Yakap Bayan aims to transform recovering drug personalities into productive leaders, from liabilities into assets.

As part of the Yakap Bayan interventions, DSWD Field Office (FO) XI to date has provided a total of ₱57.3 million worth of assistance composed of financial, livelihood, burial, medical, skills training, food packs, rice packs, and cash-for-work to drug surrenderers in the region.

“We have also extended technical assistance to local government units, conducted orientation on the Yakap Bayan Framework to our partners as well as Case Management System for social workers handling recovering drug dependents. We have to work together to fight this menace,” according to Dahlia S. Padillo, Social Welfare Officer IV of DSWD FO XI.

CADAC is strongly invested in preventing relapse as well as imparting recovery skills. “We want to help them rebuild their lives. We teach them to lead a lifestyle that would make it difficult for them to go back or use drugs again,” said Ronaldo A. Rivera, CADAC Technical Adviser for Community-Based Organizations.

Meanwhile, Dr. Corazon M. Umblero, UIC Director of Community Development Service, which implements the One Thread Project, expounded, “We really care for life. We are positive that there is still an opportunity to change for the better. Instead of becoming a liability to society, former drug dependents can become assets.” (DSWD/sms)