MANILA, Philippines — The shortage of rehabilitation centers has led to President Rodrigo Duterte to seek a six-month extension to his self-imposed deadline to end the country’s drug problem, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa said.
“Dahil nga sa pagkukulang natin dito sa rehabilitation facilities, diyan yung handicap natin ngayon, ” Dela Rosa said at a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday.
According to Department of Health Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzalan, each province should ideally have at least one rehabilitation center but there are only four regional rehabilitation centers across the country.
Punzalan also said that the cost of rehabilitating drug users is around P10,000 per patient per month.
President Duterte, shocked by the extent of the drug problem in the country, has asked for six more months to put an end to the drug menace and criminality in the country.
“Just give me little extension of maybe another six months. I did not have any idea that there were hundreds of thousands already in the drug business,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City on Sept. 18.
According to Dela Rosa, it will be the Local Government Units concerned who are in charge of helping the surrenderers and providing rehabilitation centers. He also added that LGUs that have not yet established their own rehabilitation centers, barangay chairpersons can monitor the surrenderers in their barangays twice a day to make sure they are no longer using illegal drugs.
However, several provincial, city and municipal governments have already taken the initiative of establishing their own rehabilitation centers, Dela Rosa said.
“Hindi na sila naghihintay sa national government na mag-provide pa ng malakihang rehab centers,” he said.
“All over the Philippines, marami na tayong nakita na mga probinsya at munisipyo at siyudad na nag-sariling inisyatibo nila, gumawa ng sariling rehab centers,” he added.
According to the Department of Health, P3 billion has been set aside for drug rehabilitation in the proposed national budget for 2017.
The government’s drive against drugs has resulted in 720,000 surrenderers and 15,000 arrests. The PNP’s target is to reach 1.8 million, which includes those who surrender, are arrested, or are otherwise “neutralized.”
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