• Lawmaker seeks probe of P1B drug rehab fund

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    TANDAG CITY: Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel has sought inquiry into the use of some P1 billion in public funds meant to build residential drug rehabilitation centers (DRCs).

    Pimentel said he wants the rest of the funds to be used to establish new treatment facilities inside military camps as advocated by President Rodrigo Duterte.

    He noted there are only 18 public DRCs with 1,800 beds, a number not enough for the growing number of drug dependents who have surrendered since July 1.

    Pimentel has filed House Resolution 190, urging the appropriate committees to look into the disbursement of the annual subsidy to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) since 2002 for adequate public DRCs.

    The DDB receives a combined P72 million in mandatory contributions from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) annually.

    “We have to ascertain whether there is a need for Congress to increase these mandatory contributions to support the President’s strategy. Otherwise, we may have to provide new appropriations altogether for the planned public DRCs in camps,” Pimentel said in a statement on Monday.

    The Pagcor and PCSO contributions are apart from the grants, donations and endowment from various sources, domestic and foreign, received by the DDB for public DRCs.

    According to a DDB report, the existing public DRCs are in Taguig City, Metro Manila (550 beds); Quezon City (150 beds); Marikina City, Metro Manila (50 beds); Dagupan City, Pangasinan (300 beds); Palayan City, Nueva Ecija (50 beds); Tagaytay City (120 beds); Magdalena, Laguna (50 beds); Malinao, Albay (50 beds); San Fernando, Camarines Sur (50 beds); Pototan, Iloilo (50 beds); Argao, Cebu (50 beds); Dulag, Leyte (30 beds); Oroquieta City, Misamis Ocidental (50 beds); Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental (50 beds); Davao City (100 beds); New Corella, Davao del Norte (50 beds); and Surigao City (50 beds).

    Besides the 18 government-run DRCs, the Dangerous Drugs Board lists 27 accredited rehabilitation centers operated by private entities, mostly non-government organizations, with a total of 1,407 beds.

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