In its continuing efforts to improve the service delivery of local government units (LGUs) in assisting recovering persons who use drugs (RPWUDs) reset their lives and return to the fold of society, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has issued guidelines on the implementation of the Yakap Bayan Program. 

The guidelines of the program, contained in DSWD Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 33, series of 2020, institutionalize the components, case management process, implementation procedures, and menu of services of the Yakap Bayan Program. The MC provides concrete course of actions that will guide LGU Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (ADACs) in the implementation of the reintegration program and serves as reference for DSWD offices, bureaus, services, and its Field Offices in providing technical assistance, resource augmentation, and mentoring to the program’s implementers.

The Yakap Bayan Program is a holistic intervention to assist RPWUDs in their recovery journey from surrendering, to treatment or rehabilitation, to aftercare, and to social reintegration to their families and communities. It entails the provision of aftercare services, such as relapse prevention sessions, counselling sessions, health and fitness therapy, spiritual interventions, and skills training, among others, to improve the well-being and social functioning of RPWUDs.

Yakap Bayan aims to provide adequate preparation for RPWUDs’ reintegration to their families and communities, including enhancing their capacities to cope with the triggers or demands of their environment upon their return. It also intends to enhance the knowledge, attitude, and skills of families to serve as co-journeyers to support the recovery of their RPWUD-family members and facilitate an enabling environment for them.

Yakap Bayan—which started in 2017 as a reintegration framework for strategic and coordinated provision of services to RPWUDs, their families, and communities—is anchored on the paradigm that drug use and abuse is a health issue with social, safety, and security consequences. As such, addressing the issue requires a whole-of-LGU and whole-of-nation approach by weaving together the existing services of the government and non-government organizations.

Under the policy, the beneficiaries of the program include persons who use drugs who have completed primary treatment, regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. They also include children who use drugs (CWUDs), surrenderers, voluntary and compulsory admission, plea-bargaining, and/or court-mandated clients pursuant to Board Regulations Number 6 and 7, series of 2019 of the Dangerous Drugs Board.

Family members and communities where RPWUDs reside will also benefit from the program and will be engaged to be able to provide a supportive recovery environment to the clients. Meanwhile, LGU reintegration teams and service providers will receive specialized trainings from DSWD to build their capacities in implementing the program.

Other stakeholders who will be engaged in the program are community leaders and volunteers, the academe, sector representatives, faith-based organizations, employers’ associations, and former clients who are potential advocates and peer group coaches who could reinforce and sustain the recovery of clients.

Yakap Bayan will be implemented by LGU ADACs through a multi-disciplinary team with dedicated social workers who will serve as case managers.

Yakap Bayan will be implemented by LGU ADACs through a multi-disciplinary  team dedicated social workers who will serve as case managers.

It is among DSWD’s contributions to the government’s fight against illegal drugs along demand reduction. The program is consistent with the Department’s mandate in providing technical assistance and resource augmentation to LGUs in the implementation of social welfare and development programs and services.

Several LGUs at the provincial, city, and municipal levels have adopted the program in their localities. For 2021, the program will be implemented in 16 regions nationwide in priority LGUs with high drug affectation based on data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. ###