Excerpt from the Privilege Speech of AKO BICOL Rep. Rodel M. Batocabe
(August 15, 2016)
“WE COMMEND THE GOVERNMENT’S WAR ON DRUGS. This problem on illegal drugs which has been neglected for so long takes us now by surprise. No other administration in the past has attempted to address this problem, the people at the grassroots level have long been suffering and fighting against this problem. The murmurs of these people continued to grow louder until it was loud enough to propel ONE MAN, WITH THE WILL TO FIGHT AGAINST ILLEGAL DRUGS, to the Presidency. Let us do our share and support this fight against drugs.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a futile exercise to wage a war on drugs simply by persuading “suspected” drug dependents to surrender without a corresponding efficient drug rehabilitation program. It is almost certain that once these drug dependents return to their home after they surrender, they would feel the craving for the illegal drug of choice.
The drug problem is one that needs to be eradicated, but we should not mistake these surrenders for treatment or victory over drugs. Surrendering is just the start of the war, because that is the time that these drug dependents can be identified, accounted for, and committed to a proper drug treatment program.
The staggering number of drug dependents who have surrendered should be met with the necessary rehabilitation and treatment program from the government. These efforts show the sincerity of this administration in addressing the problem of illegal drugs in the country.
If the government can spend Ph62.7 billion for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program this 2016, we can spend Php33.9 billion for rehabilitation of drug dependents and rid the country of this drug menace that has long remained in the shadows behind the veneer of economic growth.
What we need is a comprehensive plan, executable within the 6-year term of Pres. Duterte, to rehabilitate and integrate these drug dependents into our society. We should not stop with emergency measures. We need to have a ground-oriented comprehensive plan for rehabilitation.
It would be ideal if we have at least one drug rehabilitation center for each legislative district. We plan to build these centers as a long-term response to the drug problem and to make the war on drugs more respectful of the individual person. THE WAR ON DRUGS SHOULD BE EMPHASIZED WITH THE RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE WELFARE OF EACH PERSON.
In the event, hopefully, that the drug menace is finally eradicated, we can then repurpose these drug rehabilitation centers into either hospitals, or health clinics, or disease prevention and treatment centers, or whatever purpose they might better serve the community.”