Duterte tells addicts: Either you take rehab meds or hang yourselves
MANILA — Christmas won’t be bleak after all for the recovering drug addicts in the country.
President Duterte announced on Tuesday that he released P2 billion to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), of which P1 billion would be earmarked to fund rehabilitation medicines of drug users enlisted in the government’s rehabilitation program.
“I advise the drug users to just stay home and I will order the medical workers around the country to go around the areas [to distribute the medicines],” said Mr. Duterte before delivering his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
Mr. Duterte left Tuesday afternoon for his state visit to Cambodia and Singapore in preparation for the Philippines’ Asean chairmanship next year.
He said the money would be used for tranquilizers and other medicines, including for depression, “that will keep you calm and would restore your sanity.” “I hope that P1 billion would go a long way to treat you this Christmas.”
In making the announcement, the President also sternly warned drug addicts to confine themselves at home and wait for the medical assistance or else they will be picked up from the streets by authorities.
“If I see you out on the streets, I will really arrest you. You stay home and wait for in about one or two days because I already released P1 billion, which you shall use for your medications,” he said.
As for the drug users suffering from mental illness due to substance abuse and whose health could no longer be restored, Mr. Duterte only had harsh words: “Nagpadala rin ako ng mga lubid. Magbigti na lang kayo mga put***ina niyo.” (I sent ropes. Just hang yourselves, your mothers are whores.)
He also announced that the other half of the P2 billion would be used to finance the medication of poor Filipino patients nationwide.
Mr. Duterte said poor Filipino patients with doctor’s prescription issued by all government hospitals and even by private hospitals could go to the nearest DSWD office to claim their medical assistance.
The P2-billion budget was forked out from the P5 billion released by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, he said.
Over the weekend, Mr. Duterte apologized for the loss of innocent lives in his bloody war on drugs and promised to look into the extrajudicial killings that have tainted the campaign.
His apparent softening on the issue came as the death toll linked to his antidrug campaign rose to nearly 6,000—some have been killed by police and some by unidentified assailants—after taking office on June 30. SFM