The Department of Health (DOH) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a 1.85 billion yen (Php 826 million) Memorandum of Agreement on April 03, 2017 to provide for the drug rehabilitation needs of drug dependents, their families and communities nationwide. This partnership is in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for a drug-free society.
The joint cooperation augurs well for the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) tasked by President Duterte to suppress the country’s drug abuse epidemic. JICA’s generous contribution will pave the way for developing the Consolidated Rehabilitation of Illegal Drug Users (CARE) Program.
Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, who inked the deal for the government, explained that “CARE primarily aims to provide opportunities for additional rehabilitation facilities, allowing treatment and care for drug dependents, it also aims to reduce their risk of relapse, allowing them a walk through a path of recovery and integrating them back into society.” CARE shall further look into developing information materials on preventive education and awareness against illegal drugs and even for capacity building where this is needed.
Currently, there are 44 DOH-accredited treatment and rehabilitation centers (TRCs) in the country, which may not be enough to respond adequately to the needs of close to more than one million reported surrenderers. Many surrenderers and drug dependents require community-based rehabilitation services in their own communities.
JICA Chief Representative Susumo Ito declared that “CARE Program will fill this gap and thus, improve operational and service standards for recovering drug dependents.”
“I am very optimistic that the DOH’s holistic approach for a drug-free society is further enhanced with this JICA commitment”, Secretary Ubial accentuated.