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Bong Go: Gov’t tough, holistic approach vs drugs must continue beyond PRRD’s term
SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go emphasized the importance of maintaining the government’s hard stance against illegal drugs even when President Rodrigo Duterte leaves office in order to prevent a resurgence.
“Hangad ko po na maipagpatuloy ng susunod na administrasyon ang kampanya ng gobyerno laban sa iligal na droga kahit na matatapos na ang termino ng Pangulo,” said Go in an interview after he assisted residents of the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte on Wednesday, March 30.
“Hindi po lingid sa ating kaalaman na patuloy pa rin ang problemang ito sa ating lipunan kaya sana ay huwag tayong magpahinga sa paglaban sa salot na ito,” he added.
On Tuesday, Duterte himself pointed out the likelihood of a resurgence of illegal drugs when his term ends during his weekly Talk to the People briefing.
“I do not really say it with certainty that illegal drugs will return,” the President earlier said.
“Maybe a resurgence a little bit. Trying to feel,” added Duterte.
Earlier, Go underlined the government’s resolve to strengthen the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs while also providing a comprehensive approach for individuals and their families who have been victims of illegal drugs to the end of Duterte’s term.
“As we step up our fight against corruption, criminality, and illegal drugs, efforts to preserve the victims’ well-being are also a top priority,” he said.
He added, “This is in fulfillment of our President’s vow of tapang at malasakit.”
Laws targeting criminals involved in drug-related crimes have already been passed, according to the Senator. He was cautious to point out, however, that eliminating drug-related offenses is only one part of a two-pronged approach to dealing with the problem of illegal drugs.
“Apart from the fight for the nation’s safety and security against the threat of illegal substances, attention must also be paid to the rehabilitation and recovery of those who have been affected,” Go, who is also the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said.
In 2019, Go filed Senate Bill No. 399 which aims to support the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs by requiring one drug rehabilitation center to be established in every province, under the supervision of the Department of Health.
The center shall provide care, treatment and accommodation to drug dependents; enhance their physical, psychological and social capability to cope with common problems; and provide after-care, follow-up and social reintegration services, among others.
Individuals who suffer from addiction are also victims of drug criminals, syndicates, and other opportunists who attempt to profit from the downward spiral that occurs after addiction takes hold, according to Go, and should not be stigmatized.
Instead, the victims must be given the opportunity to heal from their addiction, restart their lives, and reintegrate into society. This, he claimed, is consistent with the President’s “tapang at malasakit” message.
“Drug addicts should be treated as victims in desperate need of medical, psychological, and spiritual assistance, with the goal of reintegrating back into society as healthy and productive citizens,” said Go.
“Pwede naman pa po natin silang bigyan pa po ng panibagong buhay,” he added.
Go also underlined that the track record of the current administration speaks for itself as Filipinos feel safer now in their communities due to the continuing campaign against illegal drugs and criminality.
“Tanungin niyo nalang po ang mga kababayan natin kung ramdam nila ngayon na ligtas na maglakad sa kalye kahit gabi at mag-isa. Tanungin niyo na rin po ang mga magulang na panatag ang loob na nakakauwi ng ligtas ang kanilang mga anak. Tanungin niyo rin ang mga dating drug users na nabigyan ng oportunidad na magbagong-buhay,” he stressed.
“Kahit na walang tigil ang kampanyang ito, laging bilin ni Pangulong Duterte na kailangan respetuhin ang rule of law. Ang utos niya sa pulis ay huwag matakot gawin ang kanilang tungkulin na proteksyunan ang mamamayang Pilipino basta sa tamang paraan,” he clarified.