MANILA – A House of Representatives leader has filed a bill providing drug dependents access to affordable treatment and rehabilitation.
Under House Bill 6108 authored by Rep. Mark A. Villar (Lone District, Las Piñas City), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) beneficiaries who are drug dependents shall be provided with treatment and rehabilitation in an accredited health care provider at an affordable cost.
Villar said drug addiction is presently recognized as one of the most pervading social ills.
Citing the United Nations Drug Report in 2012, Villar said the Philippines has the highest abuse rate for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu in East Asia.
“To deter and control violators, Philippine laws treat drug pushers, users, and even possessors severely, by imposing the highest degree of penalty – life imprisonment,” said Villar, Chairman of the House Committee on Trade and Industry.
Villar said the current laws fail to recognize that rehabilitation is as important as deterrence in solving the drug menace.
“Rehabilitation of drug dependents and providing for such facilities and medical treatment to ensure their complete recovery and eventual social reintegration have not been properly addressed,” Villar said.
Villar said there are numerous rehabilitation centers, both private and government run, across the regions all over the country.
Villar cited a 2008 survey conducted by the Dangerous Drugs Board showing that only 200 or less than 0.2 percent out of the 1.7 million drug users in the Philippines underwent treatment and rehabilitation.
“One of the factors contributing to the dismal number is the fact that the cost of treatment and rehabilitation discourages families of drug dependents to avail of the same,” Villar said.
The measure seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7875, otherwise known as “An Act instituting a National Health Insurance Program for all Filipinos and establishing the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for the purpose was amended by Republic Act No. 9241.”
Villar said the bill further proposes amendment to specifically include rehabilitation treatment as among the enumerated categories of personal health services to ensure its beneficiaries of affordable rehabilitation treatment.
The bill also calls for the application for accreditation of rehabilitation centers in order that PhilHealth members will be accorded the proposed benefits.