THREE Cebu-based private hospitals committed to assist the national government in providing affordable rehabilitation services to drug users who want to reform.
Cebu Doctors’ Hospital (CDH), Velez Hospital and Medical College, and Chong Hua Hospital have pledged to support the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte by providing aid to reforming drug users, particularly those who surrendered in response to the police force’s Oplan Tokhang, said Michael Dino, presidential assistant for the Visayas.
In a press conference, Dino disclosed that he met with the owners of the three private hospitals and they committed to offer drug rehabilitation services for a minimal fee.
Meanwhile, the Mandaue City Council invited doctors and experts to a session where they can discuss a program that could help drug users who have surrendered.
“We want to be able to offer education as well as rehabilitation for the surrenderees to aid in the anti-drug initiative (of the national government),” said Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing.
According to records of the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO), 1,467 persons surrendered in July alone.
Police Senior Supt. Roberto Alanas, the MCPO director, said 1,293 were self-confessed users, while 174 were suspected drug pushers.
In the meeting with hospital owners, Dino said, Dr. Potenciano Larazabal of CDH committed to expand their facility to accommodate more than 8,000 persons who want to be rehabilitated.
Dino said he plans to meet with officials of the Department of Health (DOH), for guidelines for the proposed program.
He also intends to meet with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and come up with programs that will offer work opportunities for drug users who have completed rehabilitation.
As of July 30, around 49,000 drug users have surrendered, according to records of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7.
The DOH 7 had earlier expressed an intention to expand services for drug users who have surrendered. But the agency also sought help from local government units, who can help by promoting a community-based drug rehabilitation program.
For its part, the Mandaue City Police Office said its operatives have arrested 16 users and 10 pushers as of July 31.
So far, seven alleged drug personalities have been killed during police operations in the city. The latest case involved a suspected pusher who was killed in Barangay Alang-alang last Wednesday afternoon.
During the City Council’s regular session last Wednesday, Dr. Juan Zaldarriaga Jr. of the Cebu Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Women presented a program the center has designed. The facility can accommodate 10 percent of those who have surrendered so far.
In Mandaue’s case, he said they can accommodate about 100 individuals.
“The 900 others will be offered an outpatient program that we designed,” Zaldarriaga said.
What they’ll do
The City Council also invited Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz; Dr. Joy Bueno, psychologist of Metropsych of Roads and Bridges to Recovery-Cebu; Professor Ronald Galindo of the Mechanical Engineering Department of University of San Carlos; and Pastors Rouel Imad, Paul Mongas and Adonis Bequeso of the Mandaue National Auxiliary Chaplaincy.
Bueno assured that they can share their knowledge to help the City with its plan to come up with a program for those who have surrendered.
Galindo told the Council that he can provide training skills like welding and fabrication, plumbing, basic electrical wiring, soap/liquid detergent and candle making, and window-type aircon and refrigator cleaning, among others.
Ruiz said he can check their records to see if any of those who surrendered are on their watch list.
Mayor Quisumbing said the program has to be institutionalized through an ordinance and supported by an appropriation.
Next week, Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna will start discussing the program with the concerned government officials.