The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has urged the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to increase the number of people who may submit petitions for the involuntary confinement of those addicted to illicit and dangerous drugs.

The IBP said that Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2022, has been vastly punitive in its implementation during the past administrations, which is an approach that has not only burdened the pillars of justice with a multitude of case dockets and detainees, but has also resulted in many deaths and violence.

It said their suggested plan of action is sanctioned by Section 61 of RA 9165, which complements the already-existing City Anti Drug Abuse Council (CADAC) in each city.

“Other non-punitive approaches also embodied in the law, which are curative and preventive approaches have not been maximized,” the IBP said Sunday in a statement.

The IBP is proposing that aside from CADAC, there should also be persons authorized to file petitions of involuntary confinement in every Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADAC). The Philippines has 42,046 barangays, which would mean 42,046 personnel in place who can aid those with substance use disorders.

The IBP further said that it has been active in participating in the meetings and policy-making activities of the DDB through its national president, who is an ex-officio member.

However, something must be done to ease overcrowding of some detention centers and overloaded court dockets in light of the still-prevalent drug problem in the country.

The IBP’s proposal thus highlights the advantages of Section 61, namely: (1) that BADAC personnel, working closer to the trenches, would have a higher chance of having personal knowledge of persons in their respective barangays who are afflicted with substance use disorder in their own immediate neighborhoods; (2) Section 61 of RA 9165 has the added advantage of already helping a person with substance use disorder before they are arrested for committing a crime; and (3) Law enforcement personnel will no longer have to wait for crime to be committed in their presence before action can be undertaken.

“The rationale behind this proposed course of action is to refocus the government’s approach to the drug problem on other non-punitive responses, compelling drug-dependent users to seek treatment before they are caught or charged for violations of the punitive provisions of RA 9165,” it said.


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