Robredo pushes for church, government community alliance on drug rehab
Eileen Nazareno Ballesteros (The Freeman) - September 22, 2016 - 12:00am

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Only 10 percent of around 700,000 drug surrenderers are eligible for institutional rehabilitation, according to the Department of Health data.

This was conveyed by Vice President Leny Robredo in her keynote speech at the opening program of the 38th National Social Action General Assembly held in the gymnasium of Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo, Leyte.

Robredo said the DOH has no plan yet on what to do with the remaining 630,000 or so surrenderers, considering too that there is now a need for more rehabilitation centers across the country.

Here, she said, is the collaboration needed among the government, the church and the community for the rehabilitation program of drug personalities.

Robredo recounted the Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS) project, initiated by her late husband former Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo in his hometown in Naga, which spurred progress in communities through this partnership.

Robredo said she is being encouraged to revive this people-driven organization. “Last Monday we had a meeting with (Dagupan) Archbishop Soc Villegas and we discussed how we can again revive the partnership between the government and private sector and the Catholic Church,” she said.

“Fortunately Bishop Soc representing the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) said the Catholic Church will be glad to take on being a partner in drafting a very brief community rehabilitation program,” she added.

Palo Archbishop John Du affirmed that the Catholic Church has a good material for reformation of every individual. “We have the people who have the skills and technique for the formation of the individual surrenderer,” he told The Freeman.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla in a separate interview disclosed the gains of the Leyte Provincial Police Office in the fight against criminalities, including drug trafficking.

“The award of being the Most Outstanding Police Office for 2015 rating is proof of our being able to win the battle against all forms of criminality even before President (Rodrigo) Duterte went on an all-out war against drug,” Petilla told the LPPO.

Meanwhile in Babatngon, Leyte, an adjacent town to Tacloban City, the local government was in full support to the anti-drug campaign of Duterte. There are more than 200 surrenderees in said sea-side municipality but only more than 100 have complete papers for the rehabilitation program.

“Initiated by our local police chief (Delfin) Bardillon, we organize every Sunday for surrenderees such as physical wellness, spiritual enhancement, community service and the Mayor’s Office provide food for them and the honorarium of the speaker,” said Mayor Marie Fe Galapon-Rondina of Babatngon. (FREEMAN)

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