SENATOR Robin Padilla on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, expressed support for decriminalizing the illegal drugs use in the country.
In a press conference, Padilla said instead of putting behind bars, “small-time” drug users, who would be caught with small amounts of illegal drugs, should instead be sent to rehabilitation centers.
“Bakit kailangan ikulong? Hindi sinasabing ili-legal, hindi kailanman mali-legal ang drugs. Ang mahuhulihan ng konti ay hindi dapat iderecho sa kulungan yan po dapat yan nirerehab, ang dami nating rehab walang laman ang rehab,” he said.
(Why lock them up? I’m not saying it should be legalized, because drugs will never be legalized. Those who are caught with little amount of drugs should not be sent to jail; they should be rehabilitated. We have a lot of rehabilitation centers that are empty.)
Padilla said drug addiction is a mental health problem and doctors should be at the forefront of drug rehabilitation centers and the drug rehabilitation programs should go beyond conducting physical exercise of the patients.
He said rehabilitation centers should be established in communities, noting the importance of the cooperation of the family of an admitted drug user.
Padilla said treating drug users will provide them the opportunity to go back to their respective families and become fruitful members of society once again.
Last week, amid the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs hearing on the proposed establishment of drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers, the decriminalization of illegal drugs use, which is contained in his Senate Bill 202 filed in July, was raised.
It was opposed by law enforcement agencies but the Department of Health expressed support for it.
Dela Rosa, committee chair, said he authored the bill but he is already coming to realize that such a measure is a bad idea, considering the stand of law enforcement agencies that it might send a wrong signal to the public that drug use is okay.
He said, however, that they will continue Senate hearings on the proposed bill, noting that it contains other proposals and not just making the use of controlled substances legal. (SunStar Philippines)