Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)- “You can’t go back to the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending”. These were the words of Jac (not his real name), a young man who had a rough start in life who is determined to change his life’s course.

Unlike most of 15-year old children, Jac did not take interest in going to school. As he would get easily bored and skipped classes, dropping out and jumping from one school to another had been normal for him. He dropped out of school when he was in Grade 9  and tried to work as a construction worker from 2019-2020. With his desire to be financially independent, Jac decided to sell illegal drugs. He stopped for a while when his mother caught him doing such but because of his peers, Jac continued with the illegal activity. In 2020, he went back to school but his illegal works went on which led to his arrest for violating Section 5 and 15 of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Acts of 2022 which he pleaded guilty to a lesser offense on violation of Section 11, part 3 of the same act. In May 2022, Jac was ordered to undergo a center-based disposition program and was turned over to the Regional Rehabilitation Center for the Youth (RRCY) under the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD FO CAR).

Upon admission in RRCY, he underwent a psychological assessment  which showed that Jac is experiencing Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) as evident on his resistance towards authority and rules within the center and his community. Moreover, the effect of his previous substance use continues to burden Jac.

To help Jac in recovering from these difficulties, the RRCY has provided interventions related to his drug use and behavior. Among the services provided to him includes individual sessions reflecting his daily learning in the center, Nature Walk Activity with his co- residents discovering on how nature can be at help as an alternative way in addressing habits against negative vices, and continuous behavior modification through the different skills for life enhancement activities. His family also continued to provide support and regularly coordinates with the Center to monitor the improvement of Jac. Above all, Jac’s motivation to change and start anew appeared to be the reason behind his transformed behavior. From being a school drop-out, Jac showed increased interest in his academics.

According to RRCY’s resident teacher Shirley Palaguitang, his academic performance improved as reflected in his general average for the second quarter which increased to 86.7% from 84.8%. He also excelled in oral communication with a grade of 95. Aside from performing well academically, he also actively participated in extracurricular activities as he was chosen to represent his school in the Mobile Journalism- Filipino category during the 2023 Division Schools Press Conference held at BSU on  14-16 April 2023 where he garnered 4th place out of 26 participants.

Hindi ko po hinangad na magkaroon ng place [sa contest]. Basta ginawa ko lang ang best ko. Hindi man madali ang mga pagsubok para matuto tayo, huwag tayong panghihinaan ng loob at sabayan natin parati ng dasal ang ating mga ginagawa” Jac said.

Early on his life, Jac may have faced various difficulties which have led to his admission in DSWD FO CAR’s RRCY.

The RRCY is a 24-hour facility which provides intensive treatment for the rehabilitation of children in conflict with the law. It serves as a nurturing out-of-home placement for children in need of rehabilitation with the aim of reintegrating the children in their families and communities after undergoing center-based services including interventions on medical, social, nutrition, educational, psychological, spiritual, productivity, recreational, and legal needs of the clients.

Individuals in need of service of the RRCY may directly coordinate with the Local Social Welfare and Development Offices in their respective areas or visit the RRCY at Payda, Bayabas, Sablan Benguet or e-mail at  #DSWD FIELD OFFICE CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, NERIZZA FAYE G. VILLANUEVA-TRINIDAD

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