TACLOBAN CITY- Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial expressed her disappointment against critics on the controversial campaign on illegal drugs by administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Ubial said that the issue on illegal drugs is not just all about ‘killings’ of those engaged in the prohibited drugs but rather rehabilitation among them as the Department of Health and other health providers considers it as a ‘mental issue.’
“It’s not all about killings of so-called drug addicts. The government has intervention programs on rehabilitation and we can say that we have made several success stories and best practices,” Ubial said on Thursday (Sept.21).
‘The war on drugs is not only about killings (and) not a security issue but anchor on the belief that people can be changed; they can be reformed. That drug users have still hope (to be reformed),” she added.
“Ewan ko kung bakit nag-iiba ang perspective sa media,” Ubial said, perhaps alluding why media reports highlight those killed in the course of the campaign.
Along this line, Ubial praised the city government of Tacloban for coming up its own rehabilitation program for former drug dependents.
Ubial was in the city as guest speaker during the citywide anti-drug summit held at the Tacloban City Convention Center attended by city employees, barangay officials, students and representatives of different sectors and organizations.
“It’s a very good program (and) we hope to replicate this to other highly-urbanized cities in the country,” she said.
The health secretary said that campaign against illegal drugs is not just the responsibility of the DOH but other stakeholders like local government units.
“It’s an entire community effort, like the local governments. They are on the grounds,” Ubial said.
The city government under Mayor Cristina Romualdez launched its drug rehabilitation program dubbed as ‘New Beginning,’ wherein drug users are provided with life coaches who help them recover.
The program also provides them financial assistance of P5,000 for them to start a new life.
So far, out of the 4,402 drug dependents who surrendered voluntarily, 40 have availed the program
The campaign against drugs launched by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte faces strong criticisms by several human rights groups and international community as they claimed that this resulted in the extrajudicial killings, involving even innocent civilians and minors.