Marben Luis L. Tan
“Drug Abuse and Crimes in San Carlos City: Can the Society Break this Connection with the Help of the Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation?”
The Philippine drug war is the anti-drug policy and actions of the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte, who assumed office on June 30, 2016. According to former Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa, the policy is aimed at “the neutralization of illegal drug personalities nationwide”.
An independent survey in September 2017 showed that 88% of Filipinos support the drug war. As of 2019, it is at 82%. Some leaders or representatives of countries such as China, Japan, India, Taiwan, and the United States (under the Trump administration) have also expressed support for Duterte’s campaign. In February 2018, however, Duterte said in a speech during the 45th anniversary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) that his promise to solve the drug problem “turned out to be a nightmare, a fiasco.” In January 2020, vice president Leni Robredo, using data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), reported that “In spite of all the Filipinos who were killed and all the money spent by the government, we only seized less than 1 percent in supply of shabu and money involved in illegal drugs.” (Jalea, Glee. “Robredo flunks Duterte admin in drug war, says less than 1 percent shabu seized by authorities in the last three years”. CNN Philippines.)
Estimates of the death toll vary. Officially, 5,100 drug personalities have been killed as of January 2019. News organizations and human rights groups claim the death toll is over 12,000. The victims included 54 children in the first year. Opposition senators claimed in 2018 that over 20,000 have been killed. In February 2018, the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced a “preliminary examination” into killings linked to the Philippine drug war since at least July 1, 2016. ( “The Guardian view on the Philippines: a murderous ‘war on drugs'”. The Guardian.)
Based on data from the PNP and PDEA from June 2016 to July 2019, 134,583 anti-drug operations were conducted, 193,086 people were arrested, and 5,526 suspects died during police operations. ₱34.75 billion worth of drugs were seized. 421,275 people surrendered under the PNP’s Recovery and Wellness Program (219,979 PNP-initiated, 201,296 community center-supported), and 499 Reformation Centers established. ( “Philippines: Duterte’s 100 days of carnage”. Amnesty International.)
It is also very true that the illegal drugs are very rampant in the City of San Carlos Negros Occidental. In our latest interview with P/Major. Jelot Junco, Chief of Police of the San Carlos City Police Station, he said that almost all of the crimes against persons and properties, namely murder, homicide, theft and robbery are all connected to the illegal drugs. That is why, he said, the PNP through the support of the Local Government Unit, headed by then Mayor and now Congressman of the 1st ditrict of Negros Occidental, Hon. Gerardo P. Valmayor, in partnership with the Diocese of San Carlos headed by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, a Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program known as the KAABAG 12 Steps Program was sanctioned by them and was launched on November 19, 2016 with the hopes and goal to help end the connection of drug abuse and crimes in the city of san Carlos.
The objective of this research is to discuss the process of the KAABAG 12 Steps Program, the therapeutic effects in the family and personal relations of the patients undergoing the CBRP and its impact in the society.
Moreover, the research also aims to elaborately discuss the importance of the 12 Steps Program in helping the client transform from being a drug dependent to a functional and normal human being.
This study utilizes the qualitative based evidence to show that the program is effective, by using multiple data sources gathered since 2016 of all the clients who have undergone the program and how it transforms them to a productive member of the society with the help of the KAABAG 12 Steps Program.
WHAT IS THE KAABAG 12 STEPS PROGRAM?
Kinabuhi Angay Ampingan Bagohon Alang sa Ginoo. The program is patterned with the Narcotics Anonymous 12 Steps Program.
The KAABAG Program which roughly translates to “A better life, offer to God” was conceptualized to concretely respond to these escalating human rights disaster.
Thus, the KAABAG Program was launched in November 2016 officially sealing the partnership between the Diocese of San Carlos and the City Government of San Carlos making the KAABAG as one of the most successful Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Program in the country.
This Care Program aims that the addiction separates and alienates, rehabilitation will connect and heals, and that connection is the antidote to addiction.
Before the surrenderers and Probationers came to the KAABAG Program and the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous NA , they could not manage their our own lives. They could not live and enjoy life as other people do. They had to have something different and they thought they had found it in drugs. They placed their use ahead of the welfare of their families, their wives, husbands, and their children. They had to have drugs at all costs. They did many people great harm but most of all they harmed themselves. Through their inability to accept personal responsibilities they were actually creating their own problems. They seemed to be incapable of facing life on its own terms. Most of them realized through the KAAGBAG Program that in their addiction they were slowly committing suicide, but addiction is such a cunning enemy of life that they had lost the power to do anything about it. Many of them ended up in jail or sought help through medicine, religion, and psychiatry. None of these methods was sufficient for them. Their disease always resurfaced or continued to progress until in desperation they sought help from each other in the KAABAG Program and in the Narcotics Anonymous. After coming to the program (KAABAG) and NA, they realized they were sick people. they suffered from a disease from which there is no known cure. It can, however, be arrested at some point and recovery is then possible through the KAABAG 12 Steps Program.
There is one thing more than anything else that will defeat them in recovery; this is an attitude of indifference or intolerance toward spiritual principles. The KAABAG teaches them the three indispensable teachings of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. With these they are well on their way. They feel that the approach to the disease of addiction is completely realistic, for the therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel. They felt that the KAABAG and NA way is practical, for one addict can best understand and help another addict. They believed that the sooner they face their problems within the society, in everyday living, just that much faster do they become acceptable, responsible, and productive members of the society.
The program has three (3) CARE Tracks;
- Patients Care
- Counseling /Therapy Sessions
- Psycho-social Capability Building
- Spiritual and Moral Upliftment
- 12 Steps Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Community Services
- Detoxification and Health Care
- Livelihood and Employment
- Regular Monitoring, Documentation and Evaluation
- Re-integration and Follow Up Programs
- Family Care
- Parenting, Shepherding and Accompaniment
- Family Therapy/Counseling sessions
- Conflict resolution and Psycho-education
- Family Development Programs
- Setting up Family Support Groups/Family
- Family Renewal Programs (CLP, Recollections)
- Advocacy and Awareness-raising Programs
- Regular Monitoring, documentation and evaluation
- Community Care
- Expansion and Strengthening of UBAS (Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan )
- Promotion and organizing of MASA MASID (Mamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamayang Ayaw sa Ilegal na Droga)
It covers psychological, neurological spiritual and social dimensions; the Body, Mind and Soul.
It focuses not only on healing of the Patients but also Care for their Families and making the whole community a Sanctuary or a place of refuge.
It has 90 meetings in 90 days and 90 hours for the outreach program.
The program is Barangay-Based and was also extended to BJMP and Probation.
The program is recognized by the Local Government Unit of the City of San Carlos. Executive Order No. 148, Sec. 1 states the creation of the K.A.A.B.A.G. (Kinabuhi: Angay Ampingan, Bag-ohon Alang sa Ginoo), a community-based rehabilitation program for recovering drug surrenderers of the City of San Carlos.
The target of the program is to penetrate all the 18 baranggays of the city, currently the program has finished in 8 baranggays so far.
Aside from the community, we also have 2 groups in Bureau of Jail and Management Penology (BJMP) and 2 groups Probation.
HOW THE PROGRAM WORK:
The KAABAG program starts with the identification of the clients based from the list coming from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC). The next step would be the house-to-house profiling of the City Social Welfare and Development Office. The City Health Office (CHO) is also the one who recommends the client to be enrolled in the program. As a successful enrollee, one will now undergo the regular mandatory activities of the KAABAG program which includes sessions, community service, health and wellness exercises, and random drug testing, otherwise called as the self care activities. Family therapy sessions are also part of the reintegration activities of the program where family members are involved during the sessions. After the 90 days mandatory enrollment to KAABAG, the clients will then have the moving-up ceremony and will be prepared for the after care program within the next two years.
- Identification, Profiling, Medical and Psychological Evaluation of the KAABAG Clients who will undergo the program.
(c/o PNP, CHO, CSWDO, Brgy. Officials)
- Core Group Meeting and Planning.
(c/o All members of the Core Group)
- Launching Program for the KAABAG Clients.
(c/o All members of the Core Group)
- Session and Activities in 90 days.
(c/o NA Facilitators, Other Government Sectors, Parish and Barangay)
- Follow-up, Troubleshooting, Intervention and Evaluation
(c/o All members of the Core Group)
- Moving-up Ceremony – those KAABAG Clients who successfully met all the requirements of the program.
- After Care – 2 years
(c/o CSWDO, CHO, PNP)
THE FLOW CHART ON HOW IT WORKS:
Fig 1 – Flowchart on how the program works.
THE PLEA BARGAIN GUIDELINES:
The Supreme Court issued guidelines for plea bargaining involving illegal drugs cases.
In Plea Bargaining Network, there shall be no plea bargaining in cases where the penalty is life imprisonment or life imprisonment to death.
Furthermore, the SC disclosed that there is no plea bargaining under Section 5 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, which penalizes sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of all kinds of dangerous drugs.
Under the new framework, only those charged with violation of Section 11 of RA 9165 for possession of illegal drugs where the quantity is less than five grams (in case of shabu, opium, morphine, heroin and cocaine, and less than 300 grams in case of marijuana) with a penalty of 12 years and one day to 20 years in prison and a fine ranging from P300,000 to P400,000 can plea bargain to violation of Section 12 that carries a penalty of six months and one day to four years in prison and a fine ranging from P10,000 to P50,000.
Also, the SC mandated that a drug dependency test is required to all cases regardless of the penalty.
“If accused admits drug use, or denies it but is found positive after drug dependency test, he/she shall undergo treatment rehabilitation for a period of not less than six months,” the high court said.
On the other hand, if the accused is charged with possession of shabu, opium, morphine, heroin, and cocaine of more than five grams but not exceeding 10 grams, or with marijuana of 300 grams but not more than 500 grams (Section 11), the accused can enter into a plea bargain to violation of Section 11 (less than five grams in case of shabu, etc. and less than 300 grams of marijuana) to lower the penalty from 20 years to life imprisonment and fine ranging from P400,000 to P500,000, to 12 years and one day to 20 years prison term and fine ranging from P300,000 to P400,000.
If an accused is charged with possession of equipment, apparatus and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs under Section 12, he or she can plea bargain to violation of Section 15 or use of dangerous drugs to lessen the penalty from six months and one day to four years in prison and fine from P10,000 to P50,000, to six months treatment and rehabilitation if he or she admits drug use or is found positive after drug use/dependency test.
For violation of Section 14 for possession of equipment, apparatus and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs during parties, social gatherings or meeting, he or she can plea bargain to violation of Section 15 on use of dangerous drugs to lower the penalty from a maximum or four months in prison to six months of treatment and rehabilitation.
The guidelines were issued following its ruling in the case of Salvador Estipona versus Legaspi City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 3 Judge Frank Lobrigo where SC declared as unconstitutional the prohibition against plea bargaining in Republic Act 9165. (Abogado.com.ph https://abogado.com.ph/sc-releases-guidelines-on-plea-bargaining-involving-drug-cases/)
Because of this guideline, the DOJ then released its own version known as Department Circular No. 27, dated June 26, 2018, as the guidelines used by the Department of Justice on who to allow to undergo the Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Program amongst drug suspects in their custody.
CBRP IN SAN CARLOS CITY:
In view of the foregoing discussions above, the program with the help of the different sectors of the society, namely the LGU, Church, Civic Organizations and the PNP, the main focus of the program is self reformation and self preservation, giving chances to drug suspects to change their lives and promote health and spiritual healing, to be able to cope with all life’s struggles in life’s terms. Indeed there is no chemical solution to a spiritual problem.
Therefore, unlike other drug rehab programs, KAABAG was conceptualized to ensure the full reformation and reintegration of the enrollees to their families and the communities while effecting solid transformation of self.
As the second chances given to them were maximized to change for the better, for themselves, for their families and to give back to their communities.
Presented below are the data gathered during the implementation of the program:
Fig. 2 – Overall Summary from the year 2016-2019
Fig. 3 – Updates
Fig 4 – Probation Batch 1
Fig. 5 – Probation Batch 2 and 3
During the last 3 years, the KAABAG program was able to graduate 234 former drug dependents. The program is a total funding from the City of San Carlos amounting to 1.9 million pesos. This meant that for an enrollee, only 90 pesos per day or 8,406 pesos per month is being spent for a program that impacts, not only the graduates but more so, the peace and order situations of the barangay, the reduction of crimes in the city and the increase of individuals with stable sources of income which contributes to the healthier economic and socio-cultural index of San Carlos City.
It is of our conclusion that the KAABAG Program of San Carlos City, although not perfect, is one of the best Community Based Drug Rehab Program, being copied by at least 3 LGU’s in the Province of Negros Occidental, Sagay City, Calatrava and Escalante City.
With the KAABAG program, the church, the community, the government, and the private sector reaching out to the drug dependents previously has no place to recover and redeem themselves. San Carlos City is now a promising place for them.
KAABAG was not only able to bring drug addicts off the streets. Among the 234 graduates, 121 individuals now have stable jobs fully contributing to happier families and peaceful communities.
Following are several recommendations based on the information above on the drug abuse and crimes in San Carlos City through the implementation of the KAABAG Program – a community-based drug rehabilitation program in the city.
- Program development, planning and implementation should include key juvenile justice stakeholders (e.g. judges, court administrators, prosecuting and defense attorneys) to the KAABAG Core Group as well as some important community representatives such as mental health and medical service providers.
- Drug testing to the all KAABAG graduates should be in sufficient frequency and randomness to identify and defer continued substance abuse.
- Staff involved in the program should receive ongoing training.
- Ongoing evaluation of the program should be undertaken, and the information obtained from the evaluation should be the basis for decisions about the future direction of the KAABAG Program.
- Jalea, Glee. “Robredo flunks Duterte admin in drug war, says less than 1 percent shabu seized by authorities in the last three years”. CNN Philippines
- “The Guardian view on the Philippines: a murderous ‘war on drugs'”. The Guardian
- “Philippines: Duterte’s 100 days of carnage”. Amnesty International
- Abogado.com.ph https://abogado.com.ph/sc-releases-guidelines-on-plea-bargaining-involving-drug-cases/
- Salvador Estipona versus Legaspi City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 3 Judge Frank Lobrigo
- DOJ Department Circular No. 27, dated June 26, 2018
- RA 9165
- Drug Abuse – the habitual taking of addictive or illegal drugs.
- Crimes – in ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society, or the state (“a public wrong”).
- Drug Rehabilitation – is the process of medical or psychotherapeutic treatment for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and street drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin or amphetamines. The general intent is to enable the patient to confront substance dependence, if present, and cease substance abuse to avoid the psychological, legal, financial, social, and physical consequences that can be caused, especially by extreme abuse.Treatment includes medication for depression or other disorders, counseling by experts and sharing of experience with other addicts.
- Philippine Drug War – “the neutralization of illegal drug personalities nationwide”.
- PNP – Philippine National Police is the national police force of the Republic of the Philippines. It is both a national and a local police force in that it provides all law enforcement services throughout the Philippines.
- PDEA – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency is responsible for efficient law enforcement of all provisions on any dangerous drugs and/or precursors and essential chemicals.
- Drug Personalities – those people that are identified to be involved in the use and trade of illegal drugs.
- CBRP – the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program (CBRP) is one of the three pillars of MASA MASID. The CBRP is a holistic. approach in rehabilitating the surrendered drug personality.
- MASA MASID – is a barangay-based program with a strategy to mobilize community-based volunteers in the fight against anti-criminality, anti-corruption, and anti-illegal drugs which encourages multi-sectoral partnership to intensify the spirit of volunteerism at the community level.
- KAABAG 12 Steps Program – the name of the community-based rehabilitation program in San Carlos City ran by the partnership of the Local Government Unit through the San Carlos Anti-Drug abuse Council and the Diocese of San Carlos through the Social Action Foundation.
- LGU – Local Government Unit of San Carlos City.
- SCCADAC – have a critical role in the coordination and proper monitoring of drug-related incidents. This entails cohesion of policies for the inter-local government roles which can provide an enabling environment for functional and effective ADACs.
- Diocese of San Carlos – catholic church-based institution headed by the Bishop.
- NA – Narcotics Anonymous was founded in 1953, describes itself as a “nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem”. Narcotics Anonymous uses a 12-step model developed for people with varied substance use disorders and is the second-largest 12-step organization.
- Addiction – Addiction is a biopsychosocial disorder characterized by repeated use of drugs, or repetitive engagement in a behavior such as gambling, despite harm to self and others.
- Addict – a person who have an addiction.
First and foremost the researchers offer our sincerest gratitude to our legal research professor, Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, whose encouragement, guidance and support from the initial to the final level enabled us to develop an understanding of the subject. Without her guidance and persistent help this project would not have been possible.
To P/Major Jelot Junco, for giving us the opportunity to interview him to gather information, and the process that was discussed to us, thanks to all members of the Drug Enforcement Unit of San Carlos PNP.
To our parents, we would like to thank to them for supporting us in our daily lives, for the opportunity to enter law school and having them by our sides to guide us always, their prosperity and love for us.
To the guest speaker, Atty. Simondo and Atty. Bebelan for reminding us what professional ethics is that made us a better individual, for the advices that they have given us and their support to us and their words of encouragement.
To Renbert de Leon, we would like to thank him for helping us in the gathering of datas, making our research successful and reliable.
Last but not the least, to the one above all of us, the omnipresent God, for answering our prayers for giving us the strength to plod on despite our constitution wanting to give up and throw in the towel, thank you so much Lord.