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DILG: 53 former drug dependents to ‘graduate’ from N. Ecija mega drug rehab center

Fifty-three former drug dependents are ready for a brand new start as they graduate today (August 4, 2017) from the six-month rehabilitation program of the first mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, that was inaugurated by President Rodrigo Duterte in November last year.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) says that for this feat, it touts the Department of Health (DOH), which operates, maintains, and manages DATRCs.

This shows that the government is doing a holistic campaign on anti-illegal drugs by giving real support in the recovery of surrenderers, says DILG Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs Epimaco Densing III.

He divulges that aside from the 53 rehabilitated patients, 360 patients severely affected by illegal drug use are currently undergoing rehab program in the mega DATRC in Nueva Ecija.

He clarifies that the mega DATRC only accommodates those who are severely affected with illegal drugs while moderately affected users are treated in other rehab centers duly licensed by the DOH.

The mega DATRC in Nueva Ecjia, he says, is part of the targeted four mega DATRCs to be established in the Philippines � two in Luzon, one in Visayas, and one in Mindanao.

Presidential Executive Order (EO) No. 4, series of 2016 designated the DILG to chair the DATRC Interagency Task Force, co-chaired by DOH and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB). Its members are the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the Office of the President (OP).

As chair of the Task Force, the DILG activated a Project Management Office (PMO) to synchronize the interagency efforts for the construction of DATRCs in the country, says Densing.

He assures that the newly formed DATRC PMO will serve the agencies which compose the Task Force. He also shares that the medium-term goal of the Task Force is to have one DATRC in each of the18 regions in the country while the long-term goal is to have one in each of the 81 provinces.

To make this into reality, the Task Force is coordinating and pooling the support of local government units and the private sector to urge them to donate land, infrastructure or equipment, he says.

Though having DATRCs nationwide is being worked on, the ultimate objective is to make DATRCs irrelevant because it would mean that there are no more drug addicts and would further mean that we have won the war on illegal drugs, he points out in a meeting of the Task Force.

He discloses that the DILG's Information Systems and Technology Management Service (ISTMS) has developed an Anti-Illegal Drugs Information System (AIDIS) envisioned to be used starting next year as an online application system that will facilitate the collection, storage, management and analysis of data and information related to illegal drugs nationwide.

Unity in action

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Aurora Ignacio of the Office of the President lauds the DILG for creating the DATRC PMO.

She urges the Task Force to also synchronize its initiatives with the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) created under EO No. 15, series of 2017 and chaired by PDEA.

Let's also be in sync with the Rehabinasyon campaign launched by ICAD for a holistic approach on anti-illegal drugs, she says.

As for DBM Undersecretary Agnes Joyce Bailen, she says, It's only now in the administration of Duterte that the magnitude of the drug problem has come to fore and we are called to serve for the future of this country.

Source: Department of the Interior and Local Government

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