In Photo: The Philippines officially accepts the chairmanship of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Cluster of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters from Director General Dato’ Sri Zulkifli Bin Abdullah of the National Anti-Drugs Agency of Malaysia.
Senior officials from the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) are in Siem Reap, Cambodia for the 40th Meeting of ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD). The annual high-level discussion provides a platform for significant international and regional cooperation highlighting important aspects of the ASEAN Work Plan in Securing Communities Against Illicit Drugs. Concerns range from Law Enforcement, Preventive Education, Alternative Development, Treatment and Rehabilitation to Research.
For 2019, the Philippines chaired the Preventive Education Cluster, where it has benchmarked successes, policies, and best practices concomitant to the objective of institutionalizing Demand Reduction initiatives at the domestic level of ASEAN Member States.
Given the country’s historic chairmanship of the Preventive Education Cluster, the ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters, in its plenary session, unanimously elected the Philippines as the Chair of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Cluster for the succeeding meetings of the sectoral body.
The election of the Philippines is an offshoot of the ASEAN Member States’ recognition of the advancements made by the country in creating a balanced approach to address the domestic drug problem with emphasis on treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration models.
In its assumption as the Chair of the ASOD Treatment and Rehabilitation Cluster, the Philippines will introduce its effective modalities on community-based rehabilitation programs, aftercare and reintegration, including the reformatory program of Balay Silangan, which is being piloted by the PDEA.
“We will maximize the opportunity entrusted to us by our ASEAN counterparts in putting premium on treatment and rehabilitation since we want to showcase that Southeast Asia has effective and sustainable standards for such framework. The Philippines is eager to support measures that will guarantee the efficient delivery of services through organization and capacity-building, programs and projects, policies, and plans, which are the strong foundation of true ASEAN cooperation,” Undersecretary Earl P. Saavedra, Executive Director of the DDB, emphasized during the acceptance of the Philippines’ chairmanship.