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Defensor: 21 rehab centers getting P1.2B in fresh funds

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The Department of Health (DOH) is getting P1.2 billion in fresh funding next year for the operations of 21 public residential drug treatment and rehabilitation centers, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor said on Saturday.

Defensor, vice chairman of the House committee on health, identified the 21 centers and their corresponding allocations in the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget.

A supplemental P55 million for the operations of the centers would also be available at the DOH’s central office, he said.

“At present, drug abusers, with the help of their families, may voluntarily seek admission to any of these centers. Or they may be compelled to seek treatment in these centers,” Defensor said.

Under the law, Defensor said families have the option to petition for the compulsory rehabilitation of a member who is a known drug abuser.

He said drug abusers caught possessing small quantities of illegal drugs may also be subjected to compulsory rehabilitation in lieu of a jail term.

While they undergo compulsory treatment for not more than six months, their jail sentences may be suspended by a trial judge, according to Defensor.

Defensor earlier urged Vice President Leni Robredo, the country’s new anti-drug czar, “to concentrate on suppressing the demand side of the drug problem by sending as many abusers as possible to compulsory treatment.”

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, with the help of other agencies, is presumed to be already forcefully addressing the supply side of the drug problem by running after big-time traffickers, Defensor said.

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