A HOUSE leader assured the public of the administration’s commitment to the illegal drugs campaign citing the allocation of enough budget for upgrading public drug treatment and rehabilitation centers (TRCs).
For 2018, the national government is allocating at least P563 million to be used for the upgrade and expansion of 14 residential drug TRCs across the country, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said.
Pimentel, chairman of the House committee on good government and public accountability, said that the P563 million for next year is on top of the P570 million available this year to improve the facilities of 16 government-run TRCs.
Pimentel said the P563 million for next year has been set aside to develop the facilities of public TRCs in Bicutan, Taguig City (P172.14 million); San Fernando City, La Union (P25.96 million); Dagupan City (P25 million); Ilagan, Isabela (P34.70 million); Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija (P20 million); San Fernando, Camarines Sur (P50.60 million); Malinao, Albay (P29.77 million); Pototan, Iloilo (P57.06 million); Argao, Cebu (P24.20 million); Cebu City south district (P25 million); Cebu (P13 million); Dulag, Leyte (P11.73 million); Cagayan de Oro City (P17.91 million); and Surigao City (P55.50 million).
Meanwhile, Pimentel wants Fort Magsaysay Mega TRC to house drug dependents who escape from other centers as well as those undergoing rehab for the second time.
The mega rehab center in the Nueva Ecija is the reason why Dangerous Drugs Board Director Dionisio Santiago quit his post. His negative comment about its usefulness irked the President who ordered him to resign.
Pimentel said the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) should put to good use the 10,000-bed Mega TRC in Fort Magsaysay built through a P1.4-billion donation of Chinese real estate tycoon Huang Rulan.
“Our proposal is for the DDB on a case-to-case basis to file the appropriate petitions in court so that drug dependents who escape from the centers where they were originally supposed to undergo treatment, may be subsequently committed to Fort Mag once they surrender, or once they are surrendered by their families, within the one-week deadline prescribed by law,” Pimentel said.
“There are many drug dependents who voluntarily submit to confinement and rehabilitation, but who later flee from centers. The problem is real. In fact, the Dangerous Drugs Law itself has a provision especially dealing with escapees from centers,” Pimentel added.
The lawmaker said Fort Mag could also be of service to drug dependents voluntarily seeking rehabilitation for the second time.
The DDB prefers to put drug dependents in community-based TRCs near their families so they can provide complete emotional support through visits.