DESPITE their support for comprehensive community based programs for recovering drug dependents, lawmakers yesterday maintained that the creation of rehabilitation centers nationwide will put more teeth in President Rodrigo Duterte’s strong campaign to address the worsening drug menace.
This was stressed by Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, and Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu after the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs began deliberating pending bills seeking to establish drug rehabilitation centers.
“We have too many users, but too few rehab centers. It is high time to support building facilities to help reform our drug dependents,” said Romualdez, wife of former House Independent Bloc Leader and ex-Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who is president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD).
Barbers, who chairs the dangerous drugs committee that is deliberating Romualdez’s proposal and similar bills, emphasized the importance of legislating the proposed establishment of rehabilitation centers—even though there is an existing law calling for the construction of at least one facility in each province—due to its funding component.
“Although it is provided in Section 75 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 on the need to establish at least one treatment and rehabilitation center in each province, the cost of constructing, operating and managing these facilities must be taken into consideration. The funding needed for the implementation of the proposed bills, if passed into law, shall be included in the General Appropriations Act which Congress’ legislates,” Barbers said.
Villafuerte, who filed HB No. 265 which seeks to establish a drug rehabilitation center in Libmanan in Camarines Sur, is calling on the national government to set up more drug rehabilitation facilities in Bicol and other places where there have been a surge of drug dependents surrendering to the authorities as an upshot of the Duterte administration’s tough war against narco-trafficking.
“Transforming a life of addiction to a life of recovery and sobriety takes time and the proper facilities. We need to have enough rehabilitation centers to help drug dependents rebuild their lives and become productive once more in the family, at work, and in society,” said Villafuerte.