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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, July 21, 2016
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Mayors, lawmen to tackle
united drug rehab response

Negros Occidental mayors and law enforcers are joining a summit today to come up with a united policy direction for the drug rehabilitation program of the province, following the surrender of thousands of drug users and pushers, Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said yesterday.

The Negros Occidental Sangguniang Panlalawigan yesterday also approved on first reading the request of Marañon for the allocation of P5 million to be used for the rehabilitation of indigent drug dependents, who recently surrendered to the government.

The governor said they will also welcome assistance from the business community and philanthropic individuals for the drug rehabilitation program of the province.

The meeting of government officials at the Natures' Village Resort in Talisay City 2:30 p.m. today will tackle the need to rehabilitate drug dependents who have surrendered to help them kick their addiction, Marañon said.

They will also discuss the possibility of putting up drug rehabilitation centers, since there are only two operating in the province now, he said.

The governor is pushing for PhilHealth coverage of members in need of drug rehabilitation. He said President Rodrigo Duterte has not answered his request but he is optimistic he will respond favorably if it is explained to him properly.

PhilHealth coverage of drug rehabilitation does not need legislation, all it needs is an order from the President to do so, the governor said.

PhilHealth has a lot of money that comes from sin tax that has a big collection, with the consumption of liquor and cigarets having increased.

He noted that sin tax collections have increased by 155 percent.

Asked if he would order a crackdown on illegal gambling, too, the governor said such has existed even during the time of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal because Filipinos are among the biggest gamblers.

Our priority for now is the campaign against the proliferation of illegal drugs, the governor said.

The sooner those who are engaged in illegal drugs surrender, the better for them, he added.

He said the putting up of drug rehabilitation centers does not necessarily have to be in all six districts of Negros Occidental.

Perhaps drug rehabilitation centers can be put up in areas next to provincial government-run hospitals where there are still areas to build, the governor added.*CPG



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