Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla

TACLOBAN CITY – The Leyte provincial government has called on the national government to immediately build drug rehabilitation centers as number of drug personalities yielding to authorities continue to rise. But Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said that it will not be easy to establish rehabilitation centers given the equipments and expertise requirements. “We cannot construct the center overnight. It’s easier to put a building, but challenging to find the right people to man the facility,” Petilla said. The governor, who is the concurrent Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council Chairman, admitted that local government units, especially in poor provinces, have no financial capability to establish and run a rehabilitation center.

“There must be a national government intervention. I’m quite sure they will address this problem because they are more financially capable,” Petilla added. The Philippine National Police (PNP) reported that 4,706 drug personalities in Leyte have already surrendered to the local police and mayor’s office from July 1 to 31 this year. Of the number, 4,368 are users and 358 are peddlers. With the absence of rehabilitation centers, the police asked those who surrendered to go home and completely abandon the illicit practice. “After the processing, we allowed them to return home, but they are bound to come back for monitoring purposes,” said PNP Leyte provincial director Sr. Supt. Franco Simborio.

Towns with 100 to 600 self-confessed drug personalities are Abuyog, Barugo, Bato, Calubian, Dulag, Hilongos, Hindang, Javier, Kananga, La Paz, Matag-ob, Matalom, Palompon, Pastrana, San Isidro and Tanauan. The province has only one drug treatment and rehabilitation managed by the Department of Health in Dulag, Leyte. It will resume its full operation in October, accommodating up to 100 patients. (SARWELL Q. MENIANO)