DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 Feb) – The 350-bed Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, launched on December 6, 2016 in Malagos, Davao City, will be completed by May this year, Health Undersecretary Roger P. Tong An said.
Tong An said in interview that the rehabilitation center in the city is just one of the four drug rehabilitation centers that are being constructed in Mindanao. The others are in General Santos City, Agusan del Sur, and Bukidnon, all to be managed by the Department of Health (DOH) to help in the government’s initiative to address the drug menace.
The four rehabilitation facilities are part of the 10 centers being constructed in the country through grants and donations from Chinese and private groups, he said.
The government broke ground for the General Santos and Agusan del Sur rehabilitation centers on February 8 and February 12, respectively, while Bukidnon was last year.
The two-story Davao rehabilitation center, funded by the Resorts World Foundation in coordination with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), is being constructed on a 19,909-square meter lot in Malagos. It will house an infirmary, administrative office, staff quarters, dormitory, laundry area, dining hall, and recreation area, among others.
Once operational, Tong An said the facility would accommodate patients from Davao Region and neighboring areas who are classified as “severe” cases and will be assisted by their trained health professionals to recover from drug addiction for at least six months.
Those who are classified as “mild” and “moderate” cases will be enrolled into the community-based program to be conducted by the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC), he said.
The DOH official said the government will also put up a “recovery clinic” where the drug dependents would be enrolled in a livelihood program in coordination with the Department of Agriculture, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Tong An said the recovery clinic is part of their reintegration program to turn drug dependents into productive members of society.
Citing a report from the World Health Organization and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Tong An also pointed out the BADAC must be strengthened because 95 percent of the admissions of drug users happen in the community-based centers.
Catalino Cuy, chairperson of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DBB), said the role of the BADAC is very important in the anti-illegal drugs operations of the government as they put in place the mechanism that is necessary in the monitoring and identification of drug personalities and the conduct of community-based drug rehabilitation program for mild and moderate drug users.
Formerly officer-in-charge of the Department of the Interior and Local Government before he was appointed to head the DBB last month, Cuy said the number of compliant barangays with organized and operationalized BADACs have increased to 70 percent from less than 50 percent at the start of the Duterte administration.
He said the BADAC is also responsible in conducting programs to raise the awareness of the non-users to prevent them from going into illegal drug use as he said authorities are not only addressing the country’s drug problem through supply reduction but also demand reduction.
The demand reduction efforts also include rehabilitation and reintegration programs for the drug dependents, Cuy said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)