MUST READ :Robredo to Duterte’s drug war lacks element of rehabilitation
What’s missing in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs is the element of rehabilitation, according to Vice President Leni Robredo, who expressed her desire to contribute in the campaign by forming a comprehensive program for reintegrating drug abusers to society. “For me, we need a more holistic solution to drugs rather than be reactive all the time,” Robredo said Tuesday in an interview in Bocaue, Bulacan, where she visited a housing project.
Robredo has spoken out against the spate of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers or users but maintains that the Office of the Vice President is “very supportive” of the government’s anti-drug campaign.
“In fact, we were talking about it in the office: What role can we perform to show our support to the President? What we saw that’s missing is rehabilitation. That’s where the gap is,” said Robredo, who was a human rights lawyer before entering politics. She said there were already many “surrenderees,” or those who surrendered after being put on drug watch lists, but there seemed to be no program to rehabilitate them.
“If you will remember the story of a 22-year-old who raped and killed a nurse at St. Luke’s, but he did it just after surrendering. So here, whether there’s killing or a surrender, what’s the program after?” said Robredo, who holds a Cabinet rank as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. “It seems the execution comes before the program. I think our office will help meet this need,” she said.
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The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, besides laying out punitive measures against drug trafficking and abuse, states that government should also “provide effective mechanisms or measures to reintegrate into society individuals who have fallen victims to drug abuse or dangerous drug dependence through sustainable programs of treatment and rehabilitation.”
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But the idea of rehabilitating drug abusers has not gained much traction among the authorities as reports of summary killings of drug suspects have piled up in recent weeks.
“It seems that what’s happening now, as a result of the influx of information and the number of the surrenderees, [the government] does not know what to do,” Robredo said. She proposed creating a comprehensive rehabilitation program in coordination with other concerned agencies and local governments. “Many LGUs already have programs like this; for example, Quezon City, which has a widespread rehabilitation program. But I think we can also help in formulating a comprehensive program for everyone,” she said.
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“What happens is that summary killings have become ordinary stories every day, which should not be the case. But we do not want to be an obstacle to the campaign. What we want is to fill whatever gaps there may be in that campaign,” Robredo said.