As more and more drug users and traders surrender to the police, the city government of Manila has launched a community-based “out-patient” program, dubbed “Sagip Buhay, Sagip Pangarap” in its 896 barangays, Mayor Joseph Estrada announced.
In a statement, Estrada said the proposed Sagip Buhay, Sagip Pangarap program will establish “multi-option modes of quality, efficient, professional, and comprehensive” rehabilitation services in each of the 896 barangays of Manila to enable drug users to achieve complete recovery.
He admitted that the city government does not have sufficient facilities to accommodate the thousands of drug suspects that have surrendered under the “Oplan Tokhang” of the Philippine National Police.
“What we need is a rehabilitation program that can be implemented immediately as the number of drug users who surrender reach the thousands,” he said. The Manila mayor said he is building a 100-bed drug rehabilitation center at city-owned Boys’ Town but it may not be completed until next year.
“This program brings rehabilitation direct to the community or barangay,” he pointed out as he stressed the major role of barangay officials in this program.
With this community-based treatment, Estrada explained the barangays will be able to monitor the progress of the patients, who will each be give specific kind of treatment depending on his or her needs.
“Since the program is barangay-based, there will be more rehab centers to accommodate the growing number of patients all at the same time,” said Estrada’s daughter Jerika Ejercito, who heads the non-government organization Initiatives for Life and Action for Women.
“The practical way to treat drug dependents in great numbers all at once is to do an in-house or residential set-up. The next phases of treatment and rehabilitation may be done on an out-patient basis,” Ejercito said.
The city’s anti-drug operations saw the surrender of about 7,000 individuals and the deaths of 47 suspects during armed operations, Estrada said.
In Manila, some 3,160 drug users and 595 pushers have surrendered to the Manila Police Department (MPD) as of July 10. This has more than doubled in the succeeding days, according to MPD director Joel Coronel showed.