Sueno, VP Leni to work together in drug rehab program

With the upcoming launching of the government's community-based rehabilitation program for drug surrenderees, Secretary Ismael "Mike" D. Sueno of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) found an ally in Vice President Leni Robredo who vowed to help in the anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Sueno, Robredo and Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio B. Evasco, Jr., led the fifth inter-agency meeting on the drug rehabilitation program in the DILG-Napolcom Center in Quezon City.

The meeting was very cordial, and there was a healthy exchange of ideas and discussion on how to enhance and fast track the government's drug rehab program.

"Natutuwa ako that we have come this far since our first meeting in July," said Sueno, who was filled with enthusiasm about the program which will be launched this September and cascaded nationwide.

He commended various agencies for developing a framework and processes as well as establishing partnership with other sectors, including taipans and faith-based groups.

He likewise thanked Robredo for volunteering to take an active part in the program

On the other hand, Robredo expressed her support for the program and volunteered the services of the Office of the Vice President in any possible way.

"We really don't have the luxury of time. Kailangan na talaga itong pagtulung-tulungan," said VP Robredo.

She said that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) can also help in encouraging public-private partnership. She also emphasized the active community efforts in Naga City, Camarines Sur against drugs.

In response, Secretary Sueno said that the best practices of Naga shall be studied and replicated.

Meanwhile, Evasco requested the DILG to draft an Executive Order that shall identify agencies and define their roles in the community-based rehab program in city, municipal and barangay level.

"We have to come up with an operational plan within the level of the town and barangay. For example, not all barangays have social workers," he pointed out.

He also ordered the DILG to consolidate estimate of needed budget in the three pillars of the community-based rehab program.

Recently, Sueno and Evasco together with other officials met with 13 business leaders in Malacanang and discussed how the latter can contribute to the construction of the rehabilitation centers or the community-based rehab program.

Last month, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) pledged to donate P1-billion to the government for the construction of new drug rehabilitation facilities.

Moreover, faith-based groups such as Caritas Manila, Jesus is Lord (JIL), Prison Fellowship International and the Philippines for Jesus Movement (PJM) expressed their support for the rehab program.

The provincial governments of Sultan Kudarat and Quezon have also conveyed their willingness to donate land for the construction of a rehabilitation center in their respective provinces.

Pillars of community rehab program

The first pillar of rehab program is called the Identification and Classification Phase where drug surrenderees are to be profiled, screened, and referred for appropriate services whether for treatment in rehab center or community-based.

The second pillar called Community-Based Rehabilitation Program and dubbed as "Care" program is where surrenderees will undergo family care, community care, and patient care.

The third pillar is called Aftercare, Reintegration and Transformation Support for Recovering Drug Dependents. Its objective is to provide interventions thru a convergence of the services of various agencies such as sustainable livelihood program, training programs, cash for work, arts and culture activities, among others.

According to the DOH, about 10 percent or 70,000 of the 700,000 surrenderees need to be treated in rehab centers, while the rest can recover through the community-based program.

Source: Philippine Information Agency