THERE’S now a snowballing move in Congress to institutionalize community-based programs aimed at rehabilitating the country’s drug dependents, many of them youngsters.
This after Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman Benjamin Reyes called for the establishment of outpatient drug treatment facilities in various parts of the Philippines.
Leading the move is a group of well-meaning members of the House of Representatives, including neophyte but highly-effective Leyte 1st District Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez.
Actually, the workaholic Romualdez sponsored House Bill (HB) No. 345, which seeks to set up a drug treatment center in Leyte to be known as the “Palo Drug Rehabilitation.”
“We should institutionalize the comprehensive community-based programs to help our recovering drug dependents where concerned people will monitor their progress,” she said.
Romualdez, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe backed the Reyes’ recommendation during a committee hearing on HB No. 345.
During the hearing, held under the auspices of the committee on dangerous drugs, Reyes bared a United Nations (UN) report showing that only one percent of self-confessed drug users need treatment in rehabilitation centers.
The DDB chairman said the remaining 99 percent may be treated by outpatient facilities.
And given the huge number of surrendering drug dependents, it is essential that these outpatient facilities be present in the district or provincial levels, according to Barbers.
Barbers, chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs, described the proposal of Reyes as “worthy of Congress’ support.”
Thus, Congress should waste no time in approving the institutionalization of community-based programs aimed at rehabilitating the millions of Filipino drug dependents.