DANGEROUS Drugs Board secretary Benjamin Reyes has lauded the “community-based” drug rehabilitation program initiated by Manila Mayor Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada.
Reyes said the “Sagip Buhay, Sagip Pangarap” rehabilitation program is a “good model” for other localities to emulate in helping drug dependents and to complement Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s all-out war against illegal drugs.
“I congratulate the City of Manila for such a wonderful program and I’m hoping they continue the good work. It is more important to provide hope and help to drug dependents who surrendered,” Reyes said during the training-seminar for the volunteers of Initiatives for Life and Action for Women (ILAW), the non-government organization implementing the program in Manila.
Reyes noted the Manila’s approach in dealing with the drug problem which focused on treatment and rehabilitation while other local government units (LGUs) anti-drug campaigns are focused on arresting and prosecuting drug dependents.
“Unfortunately during the past administrations, nalimutan po ang community interventions as far as anti-drug abuse is concerned. Wala, nag-focus po tayo sa in-patient treatment and rehabilitation,” the DDB chief pointed out. “So I was surprised that in Manila, there is a private organization like ILAW that leads the implementation of this program unlike in other cities and municipalities.”
Estrada, who is also the Philippine chairman of the ‘Drug Abuse Resistance Education’ (DARE) program that educates the youth against the menace of illegal drugs, said he came out with the rehabilitation program to assist drug dependents who are willing to change their ways and start anew.
“Drug dependents are also victims. They don’t deserve condemnation. All they need is another chance, and we at the city government are here to help them,” Estrada said.
Cases considered as “treatable” are to undergo medical and psycho-social treatment by a team of medical professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists; the severe cases will be endorsed to government rehabilitation centers such as the one in Bicutan.
Program beneficiaries shall also be given jobs commensurate to their educational background or seed capital for them to open their own business ventures, ILAW program director Jerika Ejercito, Estrada’s daughter, said.