By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has rescued 20 street children in two barangays in Novaliches, Quezon City on Thursday.
“With the increasing number of out-of-school youth and young people becoming addicted to prohibited substances, the country is confronted with the fear of losing its hope, the youth. If we let them roam the streets, they will be the future enemy of the state,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said.
Of the 20 street children rescued, 13 are hooked on solvents in barangays San Agustin and Nova Proper in Novaliches. The 13 children have been enrolled at the Sagip Batang Solvent project, Aquino said.
Through Oplan Sagip Batang Solvent, children are provided shelter, reformative and reintegrated interventions, and develop resistance to drug use.
The activity, which will last until June 17, will cover street dwellers, including children or minors, adults, and the elderly.
All reached-out clients will be assessed, referred to the proper institution and admitted to the Project Sagip Batang Solvent reformation center once identified as a solvent user.
Last March 25, Aquino and Quezon City mayor-elect Joy Belmonte signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build an outreach rehabilitation center to be called “Bahay Pangarap” in Clemente Subdivision, Barangay San Agustin, Novaliches, Quezon City.
It is PDEA’s pilot residential reformation center for rescued solvent-inhaling street children, which will serve as a model facility to be established in the different cities and municipalities across the country.
Under the MOU, the “Bahay Pangarap” building will be transformed into a “Sagip Batang Solvent Reformation Center” to keep children off the streets and away from being involved in illegal drug activities and drug use. (PNA)