TACLOBAN CITY- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) is now studying the possibility of including drug rehabilitation as part of their insurance coverage. Walter Bacareza, PhilHealth Eastern Visayas vice president, said that this is in response to the huge number of drug-dependent individuals who have surrendered amid government’s program to end the country’s problem on illegal drugs. Bacareza, representing PhilHealth and the Department of Health(DOH0, signed a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of PhilHealth Z Benefit Package at the EVRMC which now include cases of cancer and serious illnesses as among Philhealth coverage. “We’re working on it and looking at the possibility of coming out with a package. (Our) central office is the one making it,” he said.

The PhilHealth official also lauded the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte for the strong campaign against proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.  Data from the regional Philippine National Police (PNP) shows that around 7,000 users and pushers have surrendered to various police stations and offices since the present administration started to intensify its campaign against illegal drugs on July 1. Meantime, with the big number of individuals voluntarily surrendering, police acting regional director, Chief Superintendent Elmer Beltejar urged local leaders to start proposing for the construction of a drug rehabilitation center at their respective areas.
“Rehabilitation is highly technical and medical. That is why ,we are asking governors and mayors that they should start proposing for the establishment of rehabilitation centers for these drug dependents,” said Beltejar.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, in earlier interview, said that managing a drug rehabilitation center is a challenge for local government units, both in terms of manpower and funding. Petilla said that in order for a rehabilitation center to work, the national government should provide assistance to the LGUs.