Ubial: Mental health law to aid govt's war on drugs

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 03 2017 03:30 PM

MANILA - The passage of the mental health law will help increase funds for the drug rehabilitation aspect of the government's intensified campaign against illegal drugs, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said Tuesday.

"With the passage of the law, we believe there will be better prioritization, budget allocation, and support for the war on drugs and rehabilitation," Ubial told reporters.

The Senate unanimously passed the Mental Health Law on third and final reading Tuesday to make mental health services more affordable and accessible to Filipinos.

A counterpart law in the House of Representatives is expected to follow soon. 

Ubial has been consistent about labeling drug dependence and addiction as a form of mental illness.

Currently, government runs 17 out of the total 48 rehabilitation facilities across the country. The rest are private institutions. 

Ubial said more rehabilitation centers and other mental health infrastructure may be funded with the law in place.

"We hope to have a systematic assessment and production of our mental heath workers particularly psychiatrists and psychologists," she said.

As of April 2017, 1.26 million drug users and peddlers have voluntarily surrendered to authorities amid the government's crackdown on illegal drugs.