The Department of Health’s (DOH) 2018 budget for drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers will be cut by P2.31 billion, Senator Ralph Recto said Saturday.
The proposed budget for drug rehabilitation facilities is pegged at P770 million, 75% lower than P3.08 billion allotted for this year.
In a statement, Recto, the Senate president pro tempore, questioned the fund’s sufficiency to subsidize rehab programs.
The drastically cut budget will fund 14 treatment centers.
“Is that money enough for the DOH hospitals with drug rehabilitation programs? Will it be enough to support community-level abatement programs?” Recto said.
“The existing policy is still ‘save the users’ and not ‘salvage the users.’ For as long as that policy remains, then government is duty-bound to help those who have volunteered for treatment by providing a new path to a better life for them.”
The Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs has caused an uproar following the death of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, who was killed in a police operation in Caloocan City on August 17.
Critics of the drug war have said that violence is not the solution to end the country’s illegal-drug problem. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Friday asserted that the country cannot be governed by killings.
But Malacañang on Friday said the high number of drug surrenderees “belies” Tagle’s claim.
“The 1,308,078 drug personalities who voluntarily surrendered, as of July 26, 2017, belie the claim that ‘we cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal and we cannot govern the nation by killing,’ ” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.