TRUE to its commitment to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, a House panel is close to approving measures on the creation of drug rehabilitation centers nationwide.
The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs has approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will consolidate all 27 proposals pertaining to the creation of drug rehabilitation centers in various areas in the country.
The committee chairman Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the TWG will work double time to expedite the passage of a substitute measure, so that creation of drug rehabilitation centers will start soon.
Since the start of President Duterte’s office, about thousands of drug dependents already expressed their intentions to be rehabilitated.
The committee members agreed that the consolidation of all bills on the establishment of drug rehabilitation centers throughout the country will fast-track finalization of a substitute measure whose eventual enactment into law will greatly help in reforming and improving the lives of drug dependents.
Of the 27 proposals seeking the establishment of drug rehabilitation centers, seven bills want these set up in the regions, four bills pertain to provincial centers, two on legislative districts, five on cities, and eight on specific centers.
Meanwhile, one bill seeks an affordable drug rehabilitation treatment for Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) members.
The lawmakers cited the urgency of putting up drug rehabilitation centers in the country, noting that many drug users have already surrendered and volunteered to undergo drug rehabilitation.
Deputy Speaker Raneo E. Abu of Batangas said the immediate enactment into law of their House Bill 9, which seeks to put up a drug rehabilitation center in every region, will start the comprehensive process of changing lives and bringing the drug dependents back to their families and communities.
Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez authored House Bill 3456, which seeks to put up a drug rehabilitation center in Tacloban City, Leyte.
Romualdez agreed to Abu’s proposal to consolidate all similar bills to hasten the creation of drug rehabilitation centers in the country amid the growing number of drug surrenderees and arrested drug users.
House Bill 9 is also authored by Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas, Minority Leader Danilo E. Suarez, Reps. Rolando G. Andaya, Jr., Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, Michael John R. Duavit, Carlos O. Cojuangco, Elisa Kho, Benhur L. Salimbagon, and Rodel M. Batocabe.
Abu stressed that 1.7-million drug dependents in the country, per the data of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), stand to benefit from their proposals.
“According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), more than 8,000 barangays, or 92% of barangays in Metro Manila alone, are said to be drug-affected, which leads to health problems, loss of employment, increase in school dropout, domestic violence, commission of more crimes, and worse, death,” Abu said.
Barbers said drug rehabilitation is one aspect of the drug campaign which President Duterte has given priority, as manifested by his allocation of P3 billion in the budget of the Office of the President to construct and create drug rehabilitation centers.
“It is very important that the concerned agencies be on top of the drug rehabilitation programs’ implementation. The war on drugs doesn’t stop on the enforcement side. It should end on the rehabilitation side,” Barbers said.