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Valenzuela Launches VC Cares Plus: A Comprehensive Anti-Drug Abuse Support Program

On this July 6, 2016 file photo, 218 alleged drug users, pushers and runners from different barangays of Valenzuela City surrendered to Valenzuela PNP. This is part of the city government's support of "Project Tokhang", the nationwide intensified campaign against illegal drugs. PHOTO BY BENG BAUTISTA

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The VC Cares Plus program officially launched today at the Audio Visual Room (AVR), Legislative Building, the City Hall.

Since the implementation of Project Tokhang, or Toktok, Hangyo (Knock, Urge) in July 1, about 1,900 Valenzuelanos involved in illegal drug activities have turned themselves in.

As standard operating procedure, surrenderees undergo biometrics process and made to sign an affidavit attesting that they will cease to have any involvement with illegal drugs.  They will be subjected drug test and if found positive, they will be referred to the Department of Health (DOH) for assessment and rehabilitation.

The overwhelming number of surrenderees has clogged down the national agencies in satisfying the latter two procedures.  The City Government of Valenzuela, as a partner for change, therefore, decides to mobilize local resources through local innovative initiatives to complement the Project Tokhang with.Thus,deploying the yet most responsive, most completeand most sustainable rehabilitation program that guarantees full moral and economic support to identified drug suspects from the moment they surrender – the VC Cares Plus.

Under the program, right after a drug offender turns himself in, (1) his drug dependence will be assessed by local medical doctors for appropriate treatment or rehabilitation; (2) either the patient will be referred to a six-month long rehabilitation program in Central Luzon Rehabilitation Center in Pampanga; (3) or the patient will be endorsed forout-patient Community-Based Rehabilitation to be set up by the LGU in Barangay Maysan, Valenzuela City treatment and psycho-social support; (4) and once the person is already cleared of drug dependence, heshall be assisted by the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) for job placement.

The local government also seeks to raise the conviction rate of drug cases by training the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (SAID-SOTG) in handling drug cases.  This is being made possible by the Valenzuela Anti-Drug Abuse Council (VADAC) legal clearing house which is armed with lawyers and paralegals who will assist the local policemen in building cases that strongly stand up.

The LGU is also preparing a reward system for the teams who shall commit and dedicate themselves to convict drug offenders.  Under the program, each team will receive PhP 100,000 incentive per successful conviction.

Furthermore, those who shall be proven to have committed negligence in the performance of their duty will be subjected for administrative complaint at the People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB).  Likewise, barangay officials who do not support the implementation of Project Tokhang and VC Cares Plus will be sanctioned by the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

2016-08-05 | By: Lauro Zyan Caiña and Liezel Fulgencio

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