Gov't 'making use of whatever is available' for drug rehab in PH

DRUG USERS. Alleged drug addicts and pushers wait to undergo drug tests following their surrender to authorities at Camp Karingal police station in Manila on June 22, 2016. Photo by Noel Celis/AFP

DRUG USERS. Alleged drug addicts and pushers wait to undergo drug tests following their surrender to authorities at Camp Karingal police station in Manila on June 22, 2016.

Photo by Noel Celis/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is doing its best in implementing drug treatment and rehabilitation as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s intensified anti-illegal drug campaign, Malacañang said on Sunday, September 25.

In an interview over government-run radio station DZRB, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar assured the public the lack of funding for drug treatment and rehabilitation in the 2016 budget will not affect efforts. 

"We are making use of whatever is available, all of the resources, tulong-tulong ang iba’t ibang department," he emphasized. "Tumutulong din ang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Philippine National Police (PNP) para sa drug rehabilitation."

(We are making use of whatever is available, all of the resources, departments are helping each other. The AFP and PNP are also helping in drug rehabilitation.)

As of Saturday, September 24, data from the PNP show that 721,067 drug personalities have surrendered under Project TokHang. Out of this number, 53,499 are pushers and 667,568 are users. (IN NUMBERS: The Philippines' 'war on drugs’)

There also have been over 3,000 deaths in the administration's war on drugs: 1,216 from legitimate police operations and 2,140 vigilante-style or unexplained killings. 

On September 14, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said that only around 500 individuals who have surrendered have been admitted in residential drug treatment and rehabilitation centers (TRCs). She, however, emphasized that not all of those who surrendered need to be admitted. 

Building more rehab centers

Andanar vowed that the 2017 budget will include the necessary funds to implement the various programs of the Duterte administration.

"Tayo po ay nakakatiyak na sa susunod na taon ay mapupunan ho 'yung budget o magkakaroon tayo ng sapat na budget para sa mga programa ng ating Pangulo," he said.

(We are sure that the budget next year will include enough funds for programs of the President.)

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) admitted that the influx of surrendered drug personalities overwhelmed the Philippine drug rehabilitation system. (READ: Rising number of users seeking drug rehab is a 'happy problem' but…)

A list from the DDB shows that as of July 2016, there are 50 drug TRCs in the country. The Department of Health said it is planning to build 4 "very big" TRCs in the Philippines.

On September 19, Andanar confirmed that at least 4 drug rehabilitation centers will be built in military camps in major regions in the Philippines. 

A drug rehabilitation and treatment center had been inaugurated on Friday, September 23, inside the camp of the Army's 401st Infantry Brigade in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur. Managed and administered by the provincial government, the facility can accomodate 60 patients at a time. – Rappler.com

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.

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