ELECTED officials in Negros Occidental are supporting the proposal of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. to sustain the anti-drug campaign of the National Government by including drug rehabilitation in the coverage of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
In his letter sent to President Rodrigo Duterte Friday, the governor suggested to Duterte the possible inclusion of drug rehabilitation under the PhilHealth coverage, and also informed him that the Provincial Government will allocate an initial annual fund of P5 million for the rehabilitation of drug dependents in the province.
Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the government should come in and be able to foot the bill for a drug rehabilitation program among indigents.
“Together with this is the construction of centers to accommodate these patients,” he said.
Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez said, “We should treat drug dependency as a disease.”
If needed, Benitez said he would file a bill to support the proposal of Marañon.
Bacolod City Representative Greg Gasataya said, “I am in favor because of the present demand brought about by the campaign of the President against illegal drugs.”
Fifth District Board Member Alain Gatuslao said that rehabilitation should be accessible to everyone.
“With proper rehabilitation made affordable through the assistance of PhilHealth together with effective social reintegration, there will be, hopefully, less chances of relapse,” he added.
For Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., the suggestion of the governor is “worthy of the President’s precious time to think of.”
At present, there are two drug rehabilitation centers in Negros Occidental – the Victorias City Rehab Center supported by the Provincial Government, and La Salle-run New Beginnings Foundation-Bacolod.
“We’re trying to look for a place where we can put up our own drug rehabilitation program because the two facilities are not enough,” the governor said.
From July 1 to 14, more than 10,000 drug users and pushers in Negros Island Region have surrendered to the authorities.
Of the number, 14, 4,735 drug personalities yielded in Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, while 5,374 gave up in Negros Oriental.