Philippines to release former drug addicts before year-end – UCA News

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Almost 5,000 narcotics suspects poised to return to society after completing rehabilitation program.

Philippine drug authorities confirmed on Dec. 12 they were set to release nearly 5,000 former drug addicts before the end of 2022 after they completed their rehabilitation program.

The National Capital Police Office’s Recovery and Wellness Program, which was launched by former President Rodrigo Duterte, said the group of 4,840 was among almost 76,800 drug suspects who purportedly surrendered to authorities out of fear of being killed in Duterte’s drug war.

“This batch set for freedom is President [Ferdinand] Marcos’ gift to drug dependents’ families and loved ones, so they can be together again at least for the New Year,” anti-drug police officer Gerald Zamora told UCA News.

Under the government rehabilitation program, drug dependents worked with various sectors of society including the Church which gave them spiritual and values formation.

“Critics have forgotten that the former president also started this rehabilitation program”

“The Catholic Church has a very important role to play here because spiritual and guidance counseling are given to drug dependents for healing. Yes, drug addiction is a medical condition but the spiritual dimension has to be addressed as well,” Zamora said.

The suspects were also taught skills and given livelihood training that they can use once they are out of rehab.

“Some of them learned how to do massage and they’re really very good. So, they will go out with a set of skills that they can use if they really want to start over clean. We even have a cooperative that allows them to borrow money, with very low interest rates,” government social worker Frances Pingoy told UCA News.

Anti-drug officials boasted the number of former dependents was testimony to a “working” mechanism that addresses the drug menace in the country, contrary to Duterte’s “kill, kill, kill” policy.

“People have a tendency to focus only on what the former president said about how to deal with the country’s drug menace. But his critics have forgotten that the former president also started this rehabilitation program,” Duterte ally and lawmaker Bong Go told reporters on Dec. 13.

Former drug addict and staunch Duterte critic Father Flavie Villanueva, however, cast doubt on the government figures saying the numbers did not add up compared to those who remained in police custody.

Philippines to release former drug addicts before year-end – UCA News

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