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Legarda committee vows funding for drug rehab centers

September 28, 2016

The Senate finance committee yesterday committed its full support behind the Duterte administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign by promising adequate funds for the rehabilitation of about 700,000 drug dependents who have surrendered to government authorities.

Sen. Loren Legarda, the committee chair asked the Senate’s Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Division (LBRMO) to sit down with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Health (DOH) so that funds are provided for the construction of rehabilitation centers and other aspects of the rehabilitation work.

These include the construction of rehabilitation centers in the local government level “whether in capital outlay, capacity-building, blood testing or after care are all incorporated in the budgets,” she said.

Legarda stressed she does not want to hear complaints that her committee was remiss in helping the administration’s anti-illegal drug campaign.

She also questioned why the past administration failed to focus on the illegal drug trade which was discovered by President Duterte to be extensive. “Bakittayonagpabaya (Why were we remiss?),”Legarda added.
MASA MASID

DILG officials told Legarda that President Duterte tasked the DILG and other government agencies last July 15 to make a comprehensive rehabilitation program. Its short-term project, the “MASA MASID” program where barangay-based organizations are tasked to help in eliminating the illegal drugs menace will be launched today.

MASA MASID stands for Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga.

The DILG has an unused P10.9 billion budget which may be carried through 2017.

“You have much money. I want you to spend it and spend it correctly,”Legarda said of the unobligated or unused budgets of the DOH, DILG and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

DILG Secretary Ismael D. Sueno and other DILG officials appeared yesterday before the Legarda Committee asking to approve the proposed DILG 2017 budget of P117.6 billion which is 25 percent more than the current P939 billion budget.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), one of six agencies under the DILG, has a P96 billion for 2017 which is P20 billion more than the current P759-billion budget.

It was in yesterday’s budget hearing that PNP Director-General Ronald M. dela Rosa maintained that there are no extrajudicial killings (EKJs) of persons linked to the multi-billion-peso illegal drug trade.

SILENCED BY DRUG LORDS

The Duterte administration is being accused of having a hand in the “summary killings” of about 3,000 persons since it assumed office last July.

The United States, the European Parliament and the United Nations have asked Duterte to observe the human rights of drug suspects.

Told by Legarda that published reports show that those who surrender are killed, dela Rosa denied that their deaths are state-sponsored.

Why those who have surrendered get killed, Dela Rosa expressed the view that the surrendereeswere most likely silenced by drug lords to prevent them from “spilling the beans.”

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) told the Legarda committee that it was the bureau, not the PNP, that discovered the mega shabu manufacturing laboratory in Arayat, Pampanga while on its regular inspection of the electrical connection of the building which turned out to be a shabu laboratory which President Duterte said could produce about 400 kilos of shabu a day.

ADMONISHED

Sueno told Legarda that currently the DILG has no funds for the construction of rehabcenters but some local government units (LGUs) with the help of churches are doing rehabilitation work.

Sueno also informed the committee that the DILG has asked the help of Taipans (rich Filipinos of Chinese ancestry) who in turn signified their intention to help in the construction of rehabilitation centers. However, Legarda admonished Suenofor asking outside help when government agencies like the DILG and DoH have so much unused or unobligated appropriations.

She said these departments should remit their unused funds to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for the construction or expansion of jails because the current detention centers in the country are congested.

Inmates in jail are suffering under sub-human conditions and that houses of dogs are better than the country’s jails, she added.

The committee report on the proposed 2017 P3.3-trillion national budget of the Senate finance committee is expected to be submitted for plenary debate late next month.

Source: Manila Bulletin