Channel drug rehab funds to Tokhang victims' burial assistance – Bong Go
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Bong Go told the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday, September 17, to “study the possibility” of realigning funds for the agency’s drug rehabilitation program to burial assistance for victims of “legitimate operations against drugs" instead.
Go, who chairs the Senate committee on health and demography, said this during the hearing for the Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed 2020 budget.
“Kung sayang naman itong drug rehab centers, kung hindi nagagamit, puwede ba nating i-realign 'yung budget for rehab, puwede ba nating gawing burial assistance na lang, since mas marami naman pong namamatay sa legitimate operations against drugs?” Go said. (READ: Theater therapy heals widows, orphans of drug war victims)
(If the drug rehab centers are wasted because they're not used, can we realign the budget for rehab to burial assistance instead, since more people die from legitimate drug operations anyway?)
The DOH in its proposed budget for 2020 allotted P610 million for dangerous drug treatment and rehabilitation centers. The money will be used to operate 20 DOH drug abuse and rehabilitation centers, as well as the mega drug rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. (READ: Drug addiction is a health problem. Somebody please tell the President.)
Burial assistance, meanwhile, comes from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units (LGUs).
Any realignment will require approval of the Department of Budget and Management.
Go also questioned how the DOH is conducting its information drives on the said rehabilitation centers, as it appears that people do not know enough about them. (READ: The cost of dying in Duterte’s war on drugs)
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa also stepped in, saying the country needs a law making rehabilitation mandatory for anyone who tests positive for drug use.
“Rehabilitation is to encourage people to live a new life. If they return to the streets, police may catch and kill them in buy-bust operations,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
But Senators Risa Hontiveros and Cynthia Villar pointed out that drug abuse happens in different degrees.
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), Hontiveros said, “Only 0.6 to 1% will require inpatient treatment, 2-10% will require outpatient treatment, and 90% will require community interventions.” With this data, Hontiveros asked the DOH why the bulk of its budget for drug rehabilitation would go to inpatient interventions instead of community-based efforts.
The DOH said it was aware of this data, and that it had plans to put more community-based drug rehabilitation efforts in place in DOH hospitals across the country.
The DOH recorded a total of 8,662 patients who have graduated from its drug rehabilitation programs from 2016 to July 2018. However, determining the precise number on recovery remains a challenge, as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are also involved in the efforts. – Rappler.com