Japan sends team to study PH drive against drugs
The government of Japan has sent a team of researchers to explore how it can assist the Philippine government in its fight against illegal drugs after the issue was discussed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Duterte during a summit meeting in October.
During a briefing at the Embassy of Japan on Monday, Katsuyuki Kawai, special advisor to the Japanese prime minister, said Japan has achieved big success in drug abuse prevention with treatments that are based on cognitive behavioral therapy.
“The percentage of drug users in its population is lower than 0.1 percent and this is the world’s lowest level according to WHO (World Health Organization),” Kawai said.
With a team composed of world-renowned Japanese experts and researchers, Kawai said they were “confident that Japan will be able to provide the highest form of assistance to the Philippines in its fight against drugs.”
After the briefing, the research team proceeded to inspect the Department of Health’s Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Bicutan, Taguig City.
The government-run facility is the largest rehab center in the Philippines with a bed capacity of 550, Dr. Bien Leabres, head of medical section, said during a presentation. He added that the center is now congested with a total of 1,291 residential patients.
Leabres said the center would need funding to build more dormitories and to hire and train professional staff.
Kawai asked about the rate of re-admission and whether other countries have offered assistance. Leabres said that in 2015, the re-admission rate was at 20 percent and that he wasn’t aware of any form of assistance from other governments.
Addressing additional questions from the Japanese team, Leabres also said that the patients’ identities are protected and admission is voluntary.
After going around the dormitories, Kawai said he would meet with President Duterte and he would make a report to Prime Minister Abe. He noted that there were patients as young as 13 and 14 years old.
The Japanese team is composed of representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, justice, labor and welfare, the national police agency, and Japan International Cooperation Agency.
For the next seven days, they will be meeting with Philippine government agencies in Metro Manila and Davao City.
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