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IBP proposed to increase the number of persons authorized by the board to file petitions for involuntary confinement

Integrated Bar of the Philippines - IBP Logo

RA 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 has been vastly punitive in its implementation during the past administrations. This approach has not only burdened our pillars of justice with numerous case dockets and detainees, but it has also resulted in many deaths and violence. Other non-punitive approaches also embodied in the law which are curative and preventive approaches have not been maximized.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, specifically the National President, is an ex-officio member of the Dangerous Drugs Board. Through this, we have actively participated in the meetings of this policy-making body. In light of the still-prevalent drug problem in the country and to address the overloaded dockets of our courts and the overcrowding of some of our detention centers, the IBP, through the National President and the Presidential Adviser on Drug Policy Reform, submitted and presented to the Dangerous Drugs Board its proposal to increase the number of persons authorized by the Board to file petitions for involuntary confinement of persons dependent on dangerous drugs. This suggested plan of action, sanctioned by Section 61 of RA 9165, complements the already-existing City Anti Drug Abuse Council (CADAC) in each city, viz:

“….it is proposed that aside from the CADAC, there should also be a person authorized to file petitions of involuntary confinement in every Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADAC).

There are 42,046 barangays in the Philippines. This will mean 42,046 personnel in place who can aid those with substance use disorders.”

The IBP’s proposal thus highlights the advantages of Section 61, namely: (1) that BADAC personnel, working closer to the trenches, would have a higher chance of having personal knowledge of persons in their respective barangays who are afflicted with substance use disorder in their own immediate neighborhoods; (2) Section 61 of RA 9165 has the added advantage of already helping a person with substance use disorder before they are arrested for committing a crime; and (3) Law enforcement personnel will no longer have to wait for crime to be committed in their presence before action can be undertaken.

The rationale behind this proposed course of action is to refocus the government’s approach to the drug problem on other non-punitive responses, compelling drug-dependent users to seek treatment before they are caught or charged for violations of the punitive provisions of RA 9165.

1 Appendix – Proposal to increase the number of persons authorized by the Board to file petitions for involuntary confinement

IBP Letter – Proposed Policy Changes to Section 61 of RA 9165

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