As part of the anti-drug campaign in the province, Lopez added that the SDEC will be a “big help in intensifying the drug education among the OSYs and street children.”
As of 2018, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSDWO) with the help of the municipal planning and social welfare and development offices through its Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) has recorded a total number of 30,469 OSYs (ages 6 to 24 years old).
Lopez disclosed that the presented figure was based on the data submitted by “only five municipalities” which are Alabel, Maitum, Kiamba, Maasim, and Malapatan.
Accordingly, the SDEC will be intended “only” for the “youth offenders who have committed petty crimes,” but Lopez cleared, “we will also engage those who are in school to be our partners and be the source of encouragement for those who will be enrolled in the program to pursue their education and become a better person in the community.”
On March 29 to 31, the PSWDO in partnership with the Provincial Local Youth Development Unit (PYDU) under the office of Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon conducted a Youth Leaders Congress and Peacebuilding activity.
“The main objective of this activity is to craft a plan for the operation of the SDEC which will soon be endorsed in our PADAC,” Lopez said.
She also disclosed that the activity also aims to strengthen the capacity of the youth leaders of the province, “because as a youth, they are the ones closest to our target individuals who will soon be the beneficiaries of this program.”
During the activity, John Oliver Tablazon, provincial youth coordinator, urged the youth leaders to be part of the development plans of the province.
“The government needs your support, 'yung plans natin will remain as plans without your support,” said Tablazon.
Lopez disclosed that the SDEC will be situated on the third floor of the National Building inside the Capitol compound which is targeted to be operational before May 2022 ends.
The establishment of SDEC was also made possible through Governor Solon whose heart is close to the youth, Congressman Ruel Pacquiao, Vice Governor Elmer De Peralta, all the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and all the seven mayors of the province. Lopez further said that after the rehabilitation, assistance will be sustained through additional livelihood opportunities.
There will also be follow up mental, physical and psychological assistance to be given after going through the rehabilitation program. (Joshua John Pantonial/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)
Photo by Jake Narte taken on March 31 during the Youth Leaders Congress and Peacebuilding activity at Horizon Suites, General Santos City.