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DSWD’s Yakap Bayan Program helps former drug surrenderer find redemption

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Fifty-three-year-old Jungie, a resident of Barbaza, Antique, openly confessed to getting involved with illegal drugs, which eventually resulted in his painful separation and estrangement from his family.

Jungie used to work as a public utility vehicle (PUV) driver, and a loving husband to Joy and caring father to two boys and one girl. His only girl, however, died in 2017.

Losing direction

While working, Jungie also had to look after his children as his wife was an overseas Filipino worker. According to him, being the only one looking after his children was, indeed, difficult.

“Ang aking asawa ay isang OFW at napaka hirap po ang buhay na walang asawa na gumagabay sa amin ng mga anak ko” (My wife is an OFW and life is difficult without a wife to guide me and the children), Jungie said.

This was the start of his illegal drug use, driven by loneliness and fatigue due to his work. Drugs became his solace, but later on, also caused his family’s breakup.

He narrated, “Nalaman ng aking asawa noong umuwi siya at nahuli niya akong gumagamit ng ipinagbabawal na droga hanggang sa magkahiwalay kami’ (My wife found out that I was using illegal drugs when she came home, thus, we separated).

For years, Jungie stayed away from his family. He was even disowned by his siblings.

Looking for redemption

After some time, he decided to change his life. He started going back to his family and asked for their forgiveness. “Humingi ako ng tawad at nangakong babaguhin ko ang buhay ko. Salamat sa Diyos at ako’y tinanggap ng aking asawa sa kabila ng mga kasalanang nagawa ko sa kanya” (I asked for forgiveness from my family and promised to change my life. I am thankful to the Lord that my wife accepted me despite what I did), Jungie said.

He promised his family that he will work on renewing his life. In pursuit of this goal, Jungie is grateful that the Yakap Bayan Program (YBP) helped him take the important step towards his transformation.

YBP is a holistic intervention to assist Recovering Persons Who Used Drugs (RPWUDs) in their recovery journey from surrendering to aftercare, and social reintegration to their families and communities through the combined effort of the government and civil society organizations. It entails the provision of aftercare services such as relapse prevention sessions, counselling sessions, health and fitness therapy, spiritual interventions, and skills training, among others, to improve the well-being and social functioning of the RPWUDs.

“Nagbibigay sila [YBP) ng tulong financial, trainings at seminar. Marami kaming natutunan sa buhay. Thankful and grateful din kami kasi may mga taong sumusubaybay sa amin. Especially ang Philippine National Police, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, pati sa Rural Health Unit na libre ang konsulta at gamot kung kami ay may sakit” (They [YBP] give financial help, and provide trainings and seminars. We [RPWUDS] learned a lot. We are also thankful and grateful to the PNP, MSWDO for their help, as well as the RHU for the free consultation and medicines when we are sick), he said.

From then on, Jungie became a model father and responsible husband to his wife who gave her full support to his transformation.

“As one of the surrenderer and recipients of the Yakap Bayan Program, all I can say is thank you Lord for saving my life because my life totally changed. Nagpapasalamat din ako sa Yakap Bayan Program kasi malaki ang naitulong sa pagbabago naming mga surrenderers” (I am thankful to the Yakap Bayan Program for its big role in the transformation of all surrenderers), Jungie added.

Live life the right away

Presently, Jungie is sick and cannot go back to driving anymore. This made him appreciate more the life he still has and the second chance he was given to be with his family.

“Isa lang po ang natutunan ko sa buhay – that life is short. (I learned one important thing – life is short). No matter how hard the past is, you can always begin again. Mamuhay ng tama at patuloy na manampalataya” (Live life the right way and always have faith), Jungie said.

“Thank you Yakap Bayan Program, sana’y patuloy ninyo kaming gabayan at tulungan para sa tuloy tuloy naming pagbabagong buhay (Thank you YBP. We hope that you will continue to guide and help us in our journey towards a new life). God bless us all,” he added.

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