AKO BICOL sees opportunity for positive change in drug treatment reforms in the Philippines

[Reposted from Humanosphere website]

President Rodrigo Duterte is waging a deadly war on drugs in the Philippines, and some are seeing opportunity for positive change.

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AKO BICOL Congressman Rodel Batocabe is one man who sees opportunity. He’s behind a proposed bill to build government-funded rehabilitation centers in every legislative state. Dubbed the “Accessible Drug Rehabilitation Treatment Act,” his bill aims to provide low-cost or even free treatment for poor addicts, who many say are affected the most by drug addiction as well as Duterte’s violent war.

“Most of the drug addicts here in the Philippines are poor,” said Batocabe in an interview with Humanosphere. “And yet … rehabilitation is way, way above their means, so if there is no subsidy from the government … these drug addicts will remain as such.”

According to Batocabe, there are only 45 rehabilitation centers in the entire country. Of those, 18 are government-run, but even those, he says, are currently too expensive for the poor, who cannot afford the room and board fees.

In Batocabe’s Bicol region, which consists of six provinces and a population of around 4 million, there are only two rehab facilities. Each facility can accommodate around 100 male residents, leaving the women as outpatients.

“There is a dire need – a scarcity – of rehabilitation centers in our country. So how can we help rehabilitate these drug addicts who are mushrooming left and right in our society? They will just go back to their old localities and remain as drug addicts until they are arrested again or killed in the process,” Batocabe said.

But Batocabe is adamant they need professional help and that they all have “the right to be rehabilitated.” Ideally, he would like to build and fund 150 new rehab facilities, but he admits that may be unrealistic.

To that, Batocabe says he’s already proposed a complementary bill (HB 1641) imposing a tax on alcohol and tobacco sales to fund the new facilities – “It’s smart, don’t you think?”

Regarding expertise, he’s certain the centers will be “world class quality,” but “the details? It should be the Department of Health which will provide the details in implementing rules and regulations.”

Read more at this link: http://www.humanosphere.org/…/drug-treatment-reforms-in-th…/

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