COTABATO CITY — To address the pressing need for accessible and affordable drug treatment and rehabilitation services in the Bangsamoro region, a measure has been filed in Parliament to establish the region’s first licensed drug treatment and rehabilitation centers.
The authors of BTA Bill No. 197 said that the establishment of these centers will provide individuals struggling with drug addiction with the opportunity to receive appropriate care and support for their recovery, enabling their successful reintegration into society.
MPs Dr. Hashemi Dilangalen and Michael Midtimbang, the main authors of the bill, explained that currently, individuals in the region who require treatment and rehabilitation for drug addiction have to be sent outside the region due to the lack of essential facilities.
Authors said that this often poses challenges as some individuals are unable to afford the cost of treatment, while others are turned away due to the limited capacity of existing centers.
Dr. Dilangalen emphasized the importance of complete treatment and rehabilitation for drug dependents, enabling them to reintegrate into society and rebuild their lives with their loved ones.
He also highlighted the burden on rehab facilities across the country, as drug-related cases flood the courts. Persons found positive for drug use or accused of minor drug crimes often face confinement, treatment, and rehabilitation as part of their legal process.
He further explained that there is an inadequate number of rehabilitation centers in the country, with fewer than 50 currently available.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported that from 2002 to April 2023, a total of 3,079 cases related to the violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 have been filed with the Regional Trial Courts in the BARMM.
These cases involve illegal drug possession, manufacturing, trafficking, and selling, with various outcomes such as convictions, dismissals, acquittals, and pending cases.
To address this issue, the proposed drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in the Bangsamoro region will provide comprehensive care, treatment, and accommodation for individuals identified as drug dependents.
The centers will offer training to help them develop the physical, psychological, and social capabilities necessary to overcome challenges commonly faced by peer groups.
It will also serve as platforms for the exchange of ideas and information on drug addiction prevention, care, treatment, and control. Additionally, they will offer after-care, follow-up, and social reintegration services to assist drug dependents in adjusting to family and community life after their release.
The organizational structure and staffing pattern of the drug treatment and rehabilitation centers will be determined by the Ministry of Health in coordination with the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and Management in accordance with existing laws, rules, and regulations.
BTA Bill No. 197 is co-authored by MPs Amilbahar Mawalil, Hamid Malik, Atty. Nabil Tan, Atty. John Anthony Lim, Atty. Sittie Fahanie Uy-Oyod, Mohammad Kelie Antao, Suharto Esmael, Hatimil Hassan, Marjanie Macasalong, Rasul Esmael, Tawakal Midtimbang, Bassir Utto, Mudjib Abu, Khalid Hadji Abdullah, Diamila Disimban-Ramos, Albakil Jikiri, and Abdulaziz Amenoden. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)