EU eyes funding for Phl drug rehab

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The European Union is considering including drug rehabilitation in its funding assistance to the Philippine health sector.

EU Ambassador Franz Jessen bared this yesterday as well as ongoing discussions with the Duterte administration for the establishment of a system that would ensure drug addicts are rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

“We have a very large program with the Department of Health which is ongoing and there we are trying to see if we should change funding so that we can focus more on the drug issue which is a key priority for the government,” Jessen told reporters at the launch of the commemorative book “The Ties that Bind” to mark 25 years of the EU delegation to the Philippines.

The EU, he said, is ready to work with the government and share Europe’s best practices in combatting illegal drugs. “It is a question of changing funds within the health sector towards the drug issue,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said the Philippines, as current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), would highlight its success of its anti-drug effort which, he stressed, is focused on rehabilitation.

He cited ASEAN leaders’ commitment to a “zero tolerance” approach to dealing with the drug problem.

“We will also bring to the table our domestic success in fighting the social menace to make the Philippines drug free, with special emphasis on the rehabilitation of drug addicts,” Yasay said.

In September, the European Parliament condemned the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings in the Philippines and urged the government to put an end to this.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have also expressed concerns over the “extraordinarily high numbers killed during police operations in the context of an intensified anti-crime and anti-drug campaign.”

During a Parliament debate in Brussels, the MEPs acknowledged that drug trafficking and drug abuse in the Philippines remain a serious domestic and international concern.




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