Rehab center eyed for drug surenderees in Ilocos

LAOAG CITY — Owing to hundreds of drug dependents who recently surrendered to police authorities and vowed to reform themselves for the better, Ilocos Norte is set to construct a rehabilitation center for them.

Provincial Board Member Da Vinci Crisostomo, chairperson of the Committee on Peace and Order reported this on Friday as the provincial government of Ilocos Norte convened a forum to address current issues and concerns on illegal drugs and peace and order situation here.

“Negotiations are already ongoing for the construction of a rehabilitation center in Pasuquin town,” Crisostomo said citing there is no functional drug rehabilitation facility in the province to accommodate them.

Crisostomo added that documents are being arranged since there is already an available fund from the Department of Health.

At present, the only government-operated drug treatment in Northern Luzon is the Region 1 Medical Treatment and Rehabilitation Center located in Dagupan, Pangasinan.

As of July 28, 2016, the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office has recorded a total of 4,216 surrenderees through the “Oplan Allokoy (Katok)” program.

Out of the 4,216 surrenderees, 255 or about 6 % are pushers.

Acting Police Director Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr. said they were surprised by the number because there are only 603 drug personalities in their watch list.

“The campaign against illegal drug remains to be our primary concern, considering that it is the common denominator of all crimes,” he said.

Since January 1 to July 28 this year, the provincial police office has arrested 233 persons involved in illegal drug trade and seized 17.34 grams of marijuana amounting to Php1,682.75 and 400.92 grams of shabu worth to Php2,405,544.00.

Meanwhile, Crisostomo urged the public to do their part in minimizing crime and illegal drug activities, stressing that such problem is not just the responsibility of the police, government or religious sector but the community as a whole.

In his first State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that his administration will prioritize the rehabilitation of drug offenders.

“We will increase the number of residential treatment and rehabilitation facilities in all regions of the country. The Armed Forces of the Philippines will facilitate the preparation for the use of military camps and facilities for drug rehabilitation.”

He added that “the reservists will be mobilized for information campaign against drug use and the dissemination of information regarding drug rehabilitation programs being offered by the government.” PNA/