Hiring of more psychologists, psychiatrists for drug rehab centers welcomed

November 16, 2019

FOMRER Health secretary deputy minority leader  Iloilo Representative Janet Garin  expressed full support to the plans of the Department of Health (DoH) to hire additonal psychologists and psychiatrists for drug treatment centers.

Garin said the move of the DoH asking for funds from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is laudable since illegal use of drugs is a health issue and concern that should be immediately addressed.

“Additional funds for this purpose will provide the manpower to carry out the necessary treatment for our people who are being rehabilitated in the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers (DATRCs),” Garin said.  

Aside from Personal Services (PS), which covers all budgetary items intended for the payment of salaries, wages, and other compensation of government employees, an increase in the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenditures (MOOE) should also be sought, Garin added.

Garin said additional funds will enable the health workers to fully discharge their duties and responsibilities in allocating budget for activities and necessities that support health programs and help maintain a safe space for the drug surrenderers and a working environment for our doctors.

However, she said  there must be a thorough study and consultation with the implementing offices, as to how much the health agency will be needing to fully realize the aforesaid objective.

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) was grateful to the leadership of the House of Representatives for the additional P240 million which will be used to establish more rehabilitation centers.

The budget increase is included in the House Bill 4228 or the General Appropriations Act of 2020.

However, Garin noted that as of December 2018, there are only 24 accredited government treatment and rehabilitation facilities.

Moreover, community-based rehabilitation program is LGU-based, thus, LGUs must be directed to operate their own facilities.

According to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), out of 1623 cities and municipalities, only 997 operate their respective treatment and rehabilitation centers.

“There must be assessment on current services and output of the existing rehabilitation centers both operated by the national and local governments.

“Also, the actions of the DOH must complement that of the DDB’s and LGUs to achieve the purpose and to assure that no government fund is wasted. I suggest that a roadmap will help us achieve this goal.

“The importance of having the ideal patient-to-doctor ratio will yield positive results of treating patients with problems related to drug addiction. Better service will be available when we have more people on the ground helping change the lives of drug addicts, giving them hope to be more productive citizens of the Philippines,” Garin said.