BAYBAY CITY, Leyte, May 11 — At least 27 drug surrenderers in this city are poised to graduate in June from a six-month drug rehabilitation program put into operation by the city government in response to the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the national government.

City Mayor Carmen Cari said their Daytime Therapeutic Center has been effective so far in helping the former drug users in shaping back their lives.

The center is touted to be a first of its kind in the country launched by a local government unit.

The lady mayor said physical changes have already been visible from among former drug users who showed enthusiasm to renew their lives and come off clean from illegal drugs abuse.

“We have gathered them during the Christmas season and even during Valentine’s, together with their families, and we saw for ourselves the positive change they have made to themselves in so short a time,” Cari said.

The number of surrenderers originally enrolled at the Daytime Therapeutic Center were more or less 60. The total number dwindled to 27.

“Some did not commit to the time they will spend at the center because they have families to attend to; while others for some reasons of their own,” Cari added.

Under the program, the patients are made to undergo counselling and technical training on welding and small engine repair. This is to provide them skills for small livelihood once they go back to the mainstream of society.

They are likewise made to prepare their own food, clean the center and even grow a garden. They were transported daily by the city police from their villages to the center while some were provided with their own fare.

Some 10 kilograms of rice per week were also provided for their families while they are at the center.

Cari disclosed the city government would provide those graduating with financial assistance to help them start a small business for themselves and their families.

The Therapeutic Center is expected to cater to new patients once the first batch graduate in June despite being costly to run, said Cari.

“This is our own way of helping the government in its campaign to free our city from illegal drugs,” Cari said.

Meanwhile, the center may change its present location from Baybay City Library to another of the city government-run facilities. The city library will already be occupied and utilized for its original use, according to the mayor.

The center is being assisted by the Department of Health (DOH) in Eastern Visayas through the Rehabilitation Center in Dulag, Leyte complete with nurses, counsellors, trainors and a doctor manning the center. (Ahlette C. Reyes/PNA)