Bishop offers to help gov’t in drug rehab

Bishop offers to help gov’t in drug rehab

By CBCP News

November 11, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop said the government’s plan to hire more health workers to address the drug addiction problem is ‘long overdue’ but offered help for rehabilitation of drug users.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, a vocal critic of the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war, said his diocese is willing to work with the government if only to help deal with the drug problem.

“(It is) long overdue but never too late if they can admit what we have been insisting on all along—that drug addiction is basically a health issue,” David said.

In 2016, the Kalookan diocese has opened its parishes as venues for a community-based drug rehabilitation program.

Dubbed as “Kaagapay Ministry, the program has three main components: patient’s care, family care, and community care.

“We can even help the government cut down the cost if only the anti-drug abuse councils of Local Government Units are willing to partner with our parishes and tap our volunteer mental health workers,” David said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are seeking more funds to hire more psychologists and psychiatrists for rehabilitation centers across the country.

The government, he said, plans to build at least one treatment and rehabilitation center for every region.

Bishop David earlier challenged the Department of Health to be more active in confronting substance abuse in the country.

The prelate has long been calling for a more health-based approach to drug addiction, saying that killings and intimidation will not stop the problem.