Druggies to plant trees, clean esteros in DILG plan
CALAMBA CITY—The government is formulating a “community-based” rehabilitation program, alongside plans to put up a facility in every region to accommodate drug dependents turning themselves in to authorities, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.
John Castriciones, DILG undersecretary for operations, said the agency is tapping every government agency for an integrated program for drug dependents as the national government carries out its intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
Castriciones said about 700,000 people had surrendered to the government, something that the administration of President Duterte was “happily surprised” about.
The President had estimated that 3.7 million Filipinos are hooked on illegal drugs, he said.
“Basically, what we will try to do is to expose them to separate activities that will be productive for the government, for the people, for the community and for themselves,” Castriciones said during the 25th anniversary of the National Police Training Institute at Camp Vicente Lim here on Monday.
He said the DILG wanted former drug users to join the government’s greening program.
“They can plant trees [or engage] in livestock raising in rural areas. In urban areas, they can clean esteros or collect garbage,” he said.
Castriciones said Mr. Duterte wanted to see four drug rehabilitation facilities, each accommodating 500 patients, put up. Two of these centers will be built in Luzon and one each in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno, on the other hand, is eyeing a drug facility in each of the 18 regions in the country, he said.
“We are happy to announce… that many local government officials have already [committed] to donate parcels of land [for the drug rehabilitation facilities],” Castriciones said.
The government is also encouraging the private sector to align its corporate social responsibility efforts with the antidrug campaign.
Castriciones said they invited several businessmen to Malacañang to discuss the government’s plans. Even the Catholic Church, which has criticized the Duterte administration over the spate of drug-related killings, has signified its interest to help, he said.
“After hearing our explanation, they have committed themselves that they are going to help, assist and collaborate with the government to address the drug problem,” he said.
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