CAPAS, Tarlac — Capas Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan vowed on Thursday not to lower his guard against the drug syndicate he said have been wreaking havoc in his town as he presided over the “graduation” of 453 drug victims from a program to wean them away, which included six months of community service.
Catacutan acknowledged that three local government employees turned out positive during a surprise drug test so “I sent them to (the) rehabilitation center instead of firing them.” In fact, he said he assured them of financial support for their families while they are being treated.
“We have to give them chance to recover,” the mayor said.
“You have all the options, but I’m encouraging all of you to stay away from illegal drugs. Have pity on your families. The money you spend for shabu (crystal meth) or marijuana should be spent for your children instead,” Catacutan told the graduates, who he classifies “reformists,” or “slightly used” victims who turned themselves in to authorities.
Traffickers, street peddlers and suppliers, tagged the “overused,” are placed in a separate reformatory house where they are restricted and strictly guarded until they complete the six-month to one-year rehabilitation program.
Since the reformatory center was constructed last year, Catacutan said they have rehabilitated 981 persons, mostly male.
Last year alone, 528 persons surrendered.
Catacutan urged the graduates to apply the livelihood skills they acquired in rehabilitation and assured them they would be given top priority in local employment once construction of the Green City begins.