Press Release
August 2, 2016

Villar files bill establishing more rehab centers, making rehab expenses free for indigent drug users

Sen. Cynthia Villar filed a bill that seeks to establish accessible and affordable rehabilitation centers in every province and city in the Philippines that will cater to drug dependents in order to sustain government's efforts for a drug-free society.

In filing Senate Bill No. 718, Villar said the lack of rehabilitation center in the country is now more evident with the number of drug dependents seeking rehabilitation increasing day by day.

Under the bill, the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary will establish a socialized scheme for the payment of rehabilitation and treatment expenses of drug dependents where indigent drug dependents will not be required to pay. It also seeks to make rehabilitation expenses chargeable to Philhealth.

"The government must be ready to extend help to these drug dependents who should be treated as victims rather than criminals. Ensuring their recovery through rehabilitation and reintegration into the community will be beneficial to society as they will become productive citizens," Villar said.

Since the implementation of the anti-illegal drugs drive "Oplan Tokhang," with the assumption into office of President Rodrigo Duterte, over 100,000 drug suspects have surrendered to authorities.

Villar said more rehabilitation centers where a drug dependent will be motivated to regain self-confidence, rediscover his working abilities and develop a sense of responsibility for himself, are needed.

According to the Dangerous Drugs Board website, there are a total of 44 DOH-accredited rehabilitation centers nationwide, 28 of which are operated by non-government organizations, 12 are government-owned, and four are maintained by local government units.

Earlier, Villar has proposed the training of drug users in farm schools as a way of rehabilitation. She said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has allotted P500 million for 45,000 scholars of agriculture-related courses. Duran Farm in San Ildefonso, Bulacan, has started opening its doors to drug users by offering a two-month course on agriculture production.

"We have heard a lot of testimonies coming from individuals whose lives have changed after participating in free trainings on agriculture. This is also a livelihood opportunity for drug users who want to start anew," Villar said.

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