MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to help in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, a Bulacan legislator filed a bill expanding the coverage of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to benefit members who seek help for rehabilitation.
“The State must encourage more drug dependents to undergo treatment and rehabilitation, at low-cost drug rehabilitation centers,” said Villarica in her explanatory note.
Drug dependents would be given room and board, services from health care providers, and drugs and biological prescription necessary for their rehabilitation.
“This is in accordance with Republic Act (RA) Number 7875 or An Act Instituting a National Health Insurance Program for all Filipinos and Establishing the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation as amended by RA Number 9241 which included drug abuse and dependency treatment as among those personal services covered. It also recognized rehabilitation centers as health institutions where health care providers are employed,” said Villarica.
Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs has led to about 500 alleged drug pushers and users killed in police operations. That’s on top of the more than 200 supposed drug personalities that media networks estimated to have been executed by apparent vigilante groups. (READ: War on drugs: While you were sleeping)
More than 100,000 drug suspects have surrendered to the authorities through Oplan Tokhang, where cops knock on doors of suspected users and pushers to give them a chance to change their ways.
The Philippine government, however, struggles with the sudden surge of those who surrendered due to lack of facilities needed for drug rehabilitation. (READ: Rising number of users seeking drug rehab is a 'happy problem' but…)