The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is the lead anti-drug law enforcement agency in the country, responsible for preventing, investigating and combating any dangerous drugs. Project Sagip Batang Solvent (PSBS) an initiative of the PDEA Director General in partnership with all concerned government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations, private sector and other stakeholders was conceptualized. It is a Residential Reformation Facility for Children-at-Risk (CAR) Involved in Illegal Drug Activities. It will serve as a model reformation shelter for children involved in inhaling solvents. Furthermore, the PSBS is committed to provide a reformative and re-integrative intervention for children involved in inhaling solvent and empower them to recover and eventually join mainstream society as productive citizens.
Background and Problem
Previously, PDEA had the Supply and Demand Reduction Strategy. To make the anti-illegal drug war approach holistic, PDEA through its new Director General Aaron N. Aquino formulated another strategy, the Harm Reduction Approach which aims to lessen the impact of illegal drugs not just to those directly affected by it but especially to those indirectly affected. On March 25, 2019 PDEA signed a MOA with the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse and Advisory Council (QCADAAC) and the Roman Catholic Bishops of Novaliches, Inc. (RCBN) for the provision of a facility to children who will be reached out under the project and was formally launched last June 21, 2019.
Solution and Impact
PDEA had a lot of planning activities on how the agency can help to the programs implemented by other Government and Non-Government agencies which are geared up towards addressing the prevalence of solvent abuse among children of this country and are visibly observed on the streets, outside of malls, Churches and even under the bridges of Quezon City. It is believed that programs for these children are implemented but are inadequate because at present, the country is still faced with the same problem. It made PDEA Director General Aquino to decide on putting up an establishment through MOA with the City Government of Quezon City. Thus, PDEA organized a Technical Working Group (TWG) for the Project Implementation Plan of PSBS. The components of this Project Implementation Plan are the following:
- Establishing a Pilot Facility
- Facility Amenities, Managing and Staffing the Pilot Facility
- Proposed Interventions
- Coordination with partners and other stakeholders
- Showcasing the Pilot Facility
For the Center’s intervention, it offers the following:
- Physical Examination
- Intake Interview (Initial Assessment and Evaluation-Social Worker)
- Psychological Assessment
- Screening (ASSIST Tool)
- Drug Dependency Evaluation
- Case Management
- Medical and dental examination
- Psychosocial sessions
- Education: Non-formal (ALS and SLE)
- Spiritual and Values Formation
- Recreation and Life skills
- Parents Effectiveness Seminar
PDEA’s Best Practice which is the establishment of Project Sagip Batang Solvent (PSBS) contributed an impact to the community, to our organization, to other stakeholders and most especially to reached-out children who are being saved from this social problem. PDEA believed that upon reaching out to these children, they were able to prevent these children from being exposed to other crimes and that we were able to lessen the proliferation of children on the streets and prevent them to be more exposed to different abuses. On the other hand, this project has also a long-term impact on the organization. From this initiative of the Director General, they helped a lot of children from the streets who sniffed solvents. Petty crime rate will be lessened and solvent users among children were managed immediately. PDEA is proud since this pilot project is successful. In addition, the long-term impact of having this Best Practice is that the streets are safer and cleaner since the children are housed in centers which include the PSBS. This project will also help the children be reintegrated in their own family and will have another chance to grow maturely and empowered to live a solvent-free life.
Project Sagip Batang Solvent (PSBS) started its full operation last June 21, 2019. One of the remarkable results during the first 4 months operation of the said center is, it was able to serve seventy-five (75) children both male and female. They were immediately provided by their basic needs and assessed psychologically and physically that was the basis of their future intervention. An in-house Alternative Learning System was also launched, thus providing the children an avenue to continue their education. Very noteworthy is the awareness and support it gained from non-government stakeholders. Some of these are the pledges of support from the Caloocan City Chapter Dental Association which provide dental services to the clients, The Quezon City Medical Association, Barbers Association in Metro Manila through their Kalingang Barbero Program that provides hair grooming, and also the support of the different religious denomination that provides spiritual upliftment to the clients. Weekly Sunday 4:00 p.m. mass is being held at the center. And another upcoming remarkable result will be the completion of the PSBS 14-week homelife.