“SOMEWHERE TO TAKE THEM”Since the implementation of the anti-illegal drugs drive, Operation Tokhang, has at least 60,000 self-confessed drug users who surrendered to the Philippine National Police as of the end of 2016. Senator Cynthia Villar, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, believed that those who surrendered could be given training in farm schools where they would be taught modern agricultural techniques and urban gardening, among others. This is to help the government in giving assistance and a new lease of life to drug users who, surrendering by swaying them to adopt a productive lifestyle. She wants to rehabilitate drug user by way of farming. We heard testimonies of individuals whose lives changed after training in agriculture. It’s a livelihood opportunity for drug users who want to start anew.
Villar has offered the Villar Sipag (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) farm schools in Bacoor, Cavite, and Las Pinas and in San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan. She said these schools aim to teach better and modern ways of farming to produce higher yields.“Tokhang” is a combination of Visayan words “toktok” or to knock and “hangyo” or to plead or request. This program is being implemented in cooperation with the Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Local Government Units, and the Couples for Christ Family for Life (CFC FFL).