• ‘No funds for rehab centers’

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    The Duterte administration does not have funding for the rehabilitation of thousands of drug dependents this year, the Palace said on Sunday.

    Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the 2016 budget was the handiwork of the previous Aquino administration, which means President Duterte’s programs would have to wait for the 2017 budget.

    “The President already said that the budget for this year was made by the previous administration. We are making use of whatever is available … all of the resources. The Armed Forces and the police will work together,” Andanar said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

    Dangerous Drugs Board chief Benjamin Reyes earlier told a congressional hearing that a 100-bed capacity drug rehabilitation center would cost P144 million, on top of the P51 million needed for salaries.

    Under the proposed 2017 budget, the Department of Health has earmarked P3 billion pesos for drug rehabilitation centers across the country.

    Given scant resources, Reyes said the government should intensify community-based rehabilitation efforts for outpatient drug dependents, by giving local governments and rural health units capacity to screen and assess the condition of the drug dependents.

    This can be done through barangay (village) health workers and funding from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. to institutionalize the community-based rehabilitation of drug dependents.

    Based on police records, 717,487 drug dependents have surrendered to authorities since President Duterte assumed office last June 30. Of this number, 664,193 were drug users while 53,294 were drug traffickers.

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