Despite the rocky relationship between President Duterte and the Catholic Church, the religious sector and some government institutions will work together “to win the war against illegal drugs.”
The Catholic Church and concerned government agencies are set to discuss on Wednesday how to speed up the establishment of community-based rehabilitation centers for drug users in at least 20 parishes in Metro Manila.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and members of some laity organizations will meet with representatives from different government agencies at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, according to Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo
The government agencies joining the meeting are the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Department of Health (DOH).
“We will be meeting so that we can discuss the community-based rehab centers that we will put up immediately. This is ASAP,” Densing said in an ambush interview on Tuesday.
The target is to have rehabilitation centers in at least 20 parishes which can accommodate drug abusers from around 80 to 90 barangays, said Densing.
The community centers are included in the “out-patient component” of the government’s drug rehabilitation efforts as it will mostly admit the “experimenters” or those who use drugs once a week or once a month.
Asked about the funding, Densing said parishes will help raise the money to support the community-based centers, aside from the government budget that was allotted for the barangay anti-drug abuse councils (Badac).
“Once we’ve established the community-based rehab centers, we might require the barangays to put in some of their Badac budgets to support the community-based rehab centers. So it’s both a government and non-government (effort),” he said.
Densing said parishes will provide personnel to run the center while the government will provide supplemental needs like skills training care of Tesda, classification of drug surrenderers by the DOH, after-care program from the DSWD while the DILG and local government units will provide additional support.
As for the patients, the assistant secretary said they will get the list of “Tokhang” surrenderers from the PNP and the barangays.
“Hindi pa pinag-uusapan (We have not discussed it) in detail, but definitely there will [be] a strategy to ask the surrenderer to undertake the community rehab center,” he said.
If the program becomes successful, Densing hopes that other faith-based organizations can follow suit all over the country.
“That’s why we’re expediting this. We’re taking away all the red tape in organizing. When we met with Bishop Pabillo, the first thing I told them was to forget about all the paperwork. Let’s just put this into a running program and then maybe later on the paperwork will follow,” he said.
“Kung ito kasama natin ang simbahan, ang private sector at LGUs (If the church, the private sector and LGUs are on our side), I’m quite sure we will [win] the war against drugs,” Densing added./ac /rga
Tags: anti-drug abuse, Bishop Pabillo, Catholic Church, community-based rehabilitation centers, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, DOH, drug rehabilitation, drug war, DSWD, Duterte, Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, out-patient, Philippine National Police, Philippines, PNP, rehab, war on drugs