By Bebot Villar
IT seems we have politicians who discuss the drug problem but have no idea what is all about! Take Senator Ralph Recto for example. He recently said that it would take 200 years for us to rehabilitate the estimated 1.3 million drug users in the country! His computation: We only have 3,216 bed – capacity in our treatment and rehabilitation centers. With this bed capacity, the estimated 1.3 million drug users, and the required 6–month minimum period for rehabilitation in the equation, will take 200 years to treat them!
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That 1.3 million figure stated by the Senator was from the 2012 Household Survey conducted by the Dangerous Drugs Board which happened during my term as Chairman of said agency. The number refers to “current drug users,” they who were made participants of said survey and they took illegal drugs within a 12–month period.
With all due respect, Mr. Senator, this does not mean that all drug users, whether current or not, are immediately your so–called “drug addicts!” A huge chunk of these estimated 1.3 million individuals can be rehabilitated through outpatient or counseling services!
And by the way, the politically–correct term nowadays would be “drug dependent,” not drug addict!
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The Sangguniang Panlalawigan heeded the call of Governor Pogi Espino and passed the Ordinance mandating the implementation of mandatory random drug testing among provincial government employees!
This is a timely development given the President’s continuing crusade against illegal drugs. Syempre naman, hindi lang tayo puro operations laban sa mga sindikato ng iligal na droga, we must also have assurance that those who run our government be completely drug–free!
For their peace of mind, the purpose of the mandatory random drug testing is not to prosecute but to ensure quality service is being given to the constituents of the provincial government. And, those who would test positive for drug use will be encouraged to undergo treatment and rehabilitation before it leads to drug dependence and mental disease!
Kudos to Governor Pogi and the SP!
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We hope that this drug–testing initiative will be emulated by the LGUs in the province. Kahit simulan po natin sa random drug testing muna of a few personnel, basta unannounced so it will be effective! And if their respective funds would permit it, they should eventually administer drug testing to all personnel to ensure that excellent public service is delivered to our communities!
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Many consider the way President Duterte is addressing this country’s drug problem as unorthodox, especially the release of his “list” of politicians, judges and law enforcers who are involved in the illegal drug trade. You may call it “public shaming,” but I think that this is an effective way of “gently reminding” these people that the government essentially wants to get rid of this drug menace!
Hindi lang tayo nasanay siguro, because the previous administration did not really prioritize the issue on illegal drugs! Kahit apektado na ang ating mga pamayanan ng salot ng droga, nanatiling tahimik ang nakaraang administrasyon tungkol sa problemang ito. But with the President at the helm of this crusade, the entire government will lead the way to eradicate this menace!
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Let the Supreme Court be an example: after President Duterte’s press conference on the issue, it immediately directed former Justice Roberto Abad to lead the investigation of four sitting judges who were included in the list!
The same is also being done by the Philippine National Police upon order of General Bato dela Rosa, na pinagalitan at pinagmumura pa ang mga nasama sa listahan!
We also hope that the DILG will conduct its own investigation for local officials whose names are on the list.