Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Representative Susumo Ito and Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial
The Department of Health (DOH) received millions of pesos worth of funding for the expansion of its rehabilitation program for drug dependents.
“This assistance from Japan is actually worth about 1.85 billion yen or an estimated 826 million pesos. We are indeed very grateful and we hope to continue this close cooperation with the Philippines and the government of Japan,” DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said.
The DOH and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement for the start of the said program.
“We stand together with DOH in enhancing rehabilitation and treatment protocols. And with these interventions, We hope that the program can contribute in reducing relapse risks and eventually integrate them back into their communities,” JICA Chief Representative Susumo Ito said.
Based on the report of the Dangerous Drugs Board, there are 1.6 million drug surrenderers, while there are 4 million drug users.
12,000 of the surrenderers are currently confined at 44 rehab centers across the country.
The health department is also studying the possibility of building additional facilities not just for drug users but also for mentally ill people.
“Really trying to integrate eventually that our drug rehabilitation facilities will be a facility for mental illness rather than just a facility for drug rehabilitation,” Secretary Ubial said.
Meanwhile, the Dangerous Drugs Board has created a new regulation for drug users with criminal records.
Under the new rule, a drug user with criminal record has to undergo assessment first to determine whether or not the person in question should be confined in a drug rehab center or be treated while in jail.
“Iyang ganiyang bagay pinag- uusapan sa Korte iyan, pini- plea iyan tapos ina-assess both sides kung talagang pwede ba na ipasok. Kung pwede naman, meron naman tayong regulation na allowed sila… whatever time spent in rehab will be counted, part ng ibabawas sa kanilang sentensya (Matters like that are discussed in court. A plea has to be entered, and both sides assessed if they can be put in rehab centers. If approved, we have a regulation that allows them. Whatever time spent in rehab will be counted as part of their sentence),” said Dangerous Drugs Board Chairman, Benjamin Reyes. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue
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