PASAY CITY -- Senator Christopher “Bong” Go renewed his call for a more holistic approach to fighting illegal drugs in the country and helping substance abuse victims to get back on their feet through better rehabilitation programs by the government.
In his manifestation during the public hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order on Tuesday, November 22, Go highlighted how former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs has been a success in addressing criminality and corruption.
“Alam naman po natin na isa sa adbokasiya ng nakaraang administrasyon ang pag-maintain po ng peace and order sa ating bansa. At maraming salamat po sa Philippine National Police, DDB, PDEA, NBI, at sa DILG, sa lahat. Hindi po magiging successful ito kung hindi dahil sa inyong tulong at trabaho,” noted Go.
“Former president Rodrigo Duterte was passionate in the fight against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption. Partikular na dito ang laban kontra ilegal na droga dahil nakakasira po ito ng pamilya. Naging masidhi po ang kampanya kaya naman bumaba na ang kriminalidad noong panahon ni pangulong Duterte. Mahalaga na hindi masayang ang ating nasimulan at maipagpatuloy ang pagsugpo sa mga nasa likod ng ilegal na droga para masolusyunan din ang problema sa kriminalidad at katiwalian,” he emphasized.
For this reason, the Senate Committee tackled Go’s filed Senate Bill No. 428 which shall establish a Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in every province throughout the country. Through the proposed measure, the centers will provide care, treatment, and accommodation to drug dependents.
These drug rehabilitation centers will also offer after-care, follow-up and social reintegration services to assist their patients in adjusting to community life after their release.
“Apart from the fight for the nation’s safety and security against the menace of illegal drugs, attention must be directed towards the rehabilitation and recovery of its victims,” Go underscored.
“As we continue to intensify our campaign against corruption, criminality and illegal drugs, efforts to protect the welfare of the victims must be also equally prioritized. Through the establishment of Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers, we can intensify our efforts in helping our fellow Filipinos take back their lives from the dark grip of dangerous drugs,” he added.
Go then highlighted several drug rehabilitation centers that were established during the Duterte Administration, including the ones in Nueva Ecija, Las Piñas, and many others. Stressing his concern that drug rehabilitation centers might not be utilized properly or maximized, Go likewise appealed for a more amicable approach in making certain that victims are more willing to participate in the rehabilitation program.
“Isa po sa napapansin ko kaya walang nagpapa-rehab ay yung proseso po. Minsan po (may) mga nanay na gustong ipa-rehab yung anak nila (pero) mahaba ang proseso. Ano po ang proseso? Pupunta ba sila sa pulis? O sa PDEA? Kailangan ba na korte ang mag-order sa kanila bago pa sila ipasok o pwede na (diretso) ipa-rehab?” Go enquired.
“Second, (napapansin din) yung resistance po ng nagpapa-rehab. Kapag dinala sa (rehab centers), minsan tatakas nanaman. Ano po bang proseso na gagawin para hindi (sila) tumakas at ma-enganyo sila magpa-rehab? Kasi if (walang aksyon), magiging useless po itong karagdagang rehabilitation centers kung wala pong magpapa-rehab o nahihirapan magpa-rehab,” he pointed out.
The senator likewise cited that the FPRRD’s drug war campaign has contributed to the decrease in the country’s crime rate. As reported by the Philippine National Police, the crime rate was 73.76% from 2016 to 2021.
“Sa totoo lang po, sa nakita ko noong nakaraang administrasyon, kapag na-contain ang paglaganap ng ilegal na droga, kasamang bumababa ang krimen. Pero kapag lumala na naman po ang ilegal na droga, kapag dumami muli ang mga gumagamit nito, bumabalik ang kriminalidad,” said Go.
Go then echoed President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. shared vision to eliminate illegal drugs in the country with focus on rehabilitation efforts, highlighting that the proliferation of illegal drugs has posed a great threat to the lives and safety of Filipino people, and to the peace and order of the nation.
“As the Chairman of the Committee on Health, nais ko rin pong lumawak pa ang ating pagtingin sa isyu at pagtuunan din ng pansin ang aspeto ng rehabilitasyon. I believe President Marcos also highlighted before the need to focus on rehabilitation,” said Go.
“Drug dependents are victims of drug criminals and syndicates. They are people who have been preyed upon by opportunists seeking to take advantage of the downward spiral that inevitably takes place once drug addiction begins. Drug dependents should be treated as victims in dire need of medical, psychological, and spiritual help, with a chance of being successfully reintegrated into society as healthy and productive citizens,” he stressed.
Previously, Commission on Human Rights Executive Director Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia expressed the agency's support to the senator’s initiative of establishing a drug rehabilitation center in every province, echoing Go’s sentiments how substance abuse can adversely impact, not only the Filipino people, but the nation as a whole.
“We have since expressed support for a human rights-based approach to policies and initiatives that prioritize health, rehabilitation, and socioeconomic interventions for the treatment and recovery of persons who use drugs," de Guia said.
De Guia likewise reassured that CHR is determined to work with Senator Go to ensure that the latter's proposed measure is in line with international human rights standards.
Go then expressed his gratitude towards his colleague, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, for supporting said bill, saying, “Nagpapasalamat po ako sa ating Chairman na si Senator Bato sa pagdinig na ito… Nung panahon ni (dating) pangulong Duterte, isa sa mga unang tinutukan niya, ikaw yung namuno noon — isa sa mga namuno ng kampanya. Of course, ikaw po yung Chief ng Philippine National Police noong panahong ito, aside from your campaign, nagtatag po kayo, nagpagawa po ang gobyerno ng mga rehabilitation centers.”
In the end, Go reiterated his firm commitment to fight the “ills of society”, such as illegal drugs, criminality and corruption. (OSBG)