Law mandating drug rehab centers still unimplemented

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2016 03:56 AM

MANILA - Amid mounting casualties from the bloody war on drugs, the House of Representatives Committee on Dangerous Drugs has started tackling 26 bills supporting the creation of more drug rehabilitation centers around the country. 

However, as it turns out—there is already a law that requires a drug rehabilitation center for every province that has yet to be fully implemented and funded.

Health Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzalan informed the House panel of a section in the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act that provides for one rehabilitation center per province.

"It is explicitly mentioned under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. It says in section 75, with regard to the treatment and rehabilitation centers, the national government, through its appropriate agencies shall give priority funding for the increase of subsidy of existing government drug rehabilitation centers and shall establish at least one drug rehabilitation center in each province.”

“It is explicitly mentioned in the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The establishment of at least one drug rehabilitation center in each province depending on the availability of funds as usual," Punzalan continued.

However, the health department executive admitted this remains to be fully implemented. 

"Presently, there are not even, we’re not even compliant with the goal of having at least one per region because at present, there are still need of four, four regions na wala pa pong drug rehabilitation center,” Punzalan said.

Punzalan added the need for additional rehabilitation centers was taken for granted before. But he said they were doing their best to cope with the situation.

“That’s what we’re doing precisely right now. We had an immediate budget allocation from DOH of providing P5 million for every regional hospital and treatment rehabilitation centers for the early facilitation in response to increasing number of (drug) surrenders,” Punzalan explained.

Dangerous Drugs Board chief Benjamin Reyes backed the establishment of more rehabilitation centers amid the huge influx of those surrendering amid the bloody war on illegal drugs.

“We agree that there’s currently a lack of facilities to house all the drug dependents that need treatment," Reyes said.