E.B. Magalona opens drug reform center

Mayor Marvin Malacon (3rd from left) and Director Marjorie Ballesteros (5th from left), assistant regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-6, led the unveiling of the marker of Balay Silangan Reformation Center at Tumandok Village in Barangay Sto. Niño, E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental, Thursday. (Photo courtesy of E.B. Magalona PIO)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – The town of E.B. Magalona has become the eighth local government unit (LGU) in Negros Occidental to establish a facility for drug offenders seeking to start anew.

Mayor Marvin Malacon and Director Marjorie Ballesteros, assistant regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-6, who represented Director Melvin Estoque, acting regional director of PDEA-6, led the inauguration of the Balay Silangan Reformation Center at Tumandok Village in Barangay Sto. Niño last Thursday. Police Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Pico, deputy provincial director for administration of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo), was also present.

In his message, Malacon expressed his satisfaction that the municipality now has a facility to support the reformation of drug offenders and surrenderers.

“Let us give second chances to our young people who have turned to illegal drugs, maybe because of poverty, and let us make them productive members of our society by offering them livelihood opportunities,” he said.

After the inauguration rites, Malacon and Ballesteros led the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the operations of the reformation center and signed a Manifesto of Commitment for the implementation of the reformation program of Balay Silangan.

Balay Silangan is a community-based reformation program aimed at rehabilitating surrendered drug personalities across the country. The program provides temporary shelters for drug offenders with the objective of reforming them into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.

In her message, Ballesteros described Balay Silangan as a home of hope. “We all have the goal of giving the people a chance to renew their lives,” she added.

Ballesteros mentioned that the facility offers alternative interventions for individuals, including livelihood training, after-care, and community reintegration programs through coordinated efforts among the LGUs, the national government, and the private sector.

According to Ballesteros, the facility in E.B. Magalona is the 75th in Western Visayas. The reformation center sits on a 313-square-meter lot, with eight units measuring 25 square meters each. Each unit has one room and a comfort room. The entire facility includes an open space measuring 16 meters by 3 meters.

Last week, Silay City also unveiled its Balay Silangan facility in Barangay Mambulac. Other areas with similar facilities include the towns of Pulupandan, Hinoba-an, Don Salvador Benedicto, Cauayan, and the cities of Sipalay and Victorias.

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