EU ambassadors, LGU celebrate Tarlac recovery clinic award

Ambassador Franz Jessen shares details of the MISSION: PHL Project of the Year Award bestowed on the European Union’s model recovery clinics.

AMBASSADOR of the European Delegation in the Philippines Franz Jessen visited on April 12 the Tarlac outpatient recovery clinic, distinguished in the recent MISSION: PHL awards, together with fellow diplomats Michel Goffin of Belgium, Jozsef Bencze of Hungary and Elizabeth De Lang of The Netherlands.

(Editor’s note: The model recovery clinic in Tarlac was acknowledged as the very first Project of the Year of MISSION: PHL Envoys&Expats Awards. The next set of awards will be handed out in 2021.)

Jessen (from left), together with Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año and Angeles City Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan inaugurate the Angeles City Justice Zone.

In his message, Jessen said: “I share this award with [Tarlac] Governor Susan A. Yap and the Tarlac Recovery Clinic team for their dedication and commitment, under the leadership of the Department of Health [DoH] and the Dangerous Drug Board, [as well as] for the successful establishment of one of the first pilot recovery clinics set up in the country, with support from the European Union [EU] and other partners.”

He added, “This initiative is a very good showcase of the [EU’s collaboration] with the government on its fight against illegal drugs as we, at the same time, illustrate our own experiences in addressing drug issues in Europe.”

On behalf of the EU, Jessen signs the message wall at the launch of the justice facility.

Collaboration of many

JESSEN also paid tribute to the men and women working in the recovery clinics, to the patients and their families, communities, as well as the provincial and city governments who have supported the recovery clinics. 

While in Tarlac, the ambassadors also paid a courtesy call on Yap and other mayors from Central Luzon. 

The Tarlac outpatient recovery clinic is one of the first to be operational out of the six pilot sites identified by the DoH. Others are in Pasay City, Mandaue City in Cebu, Oriental Mindoro, Compostela Valley and Ifugao.  

The EU envoy (in barong Tagalog) listens to updates from Dr. Reena S. Boquiren (standing, left).

Said facility in Tarlac is now moving toward becoming a recovery clinic center of excellence that will serve as a training facility for others. It offers evidence-based drug abuse medical treatment in a voluntary outpatient setting that preserves human dignity via medical records privacy and confidentiality protection under Philippine laws. Likewise, the clinic has a holistic approach not only focusing on addressing addiction, but also reintegration into the community after treatment.

Through this initiative, the EU supported the DoH for the development of a model voluntary medical treatment for non-severely addicted drug users. The Tarlac recovery clinic closely cooperates with the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the provision of the patients’ food and transport expenses, as well as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for vocational training support to promote reintegration into the community.

Justice Zone

MEANWHILE, the EU also welcomed the establishment of the Angeles City Justice Zone by the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) on the said date, in support of justice-sector reform in the Philippines.

The JSCC, jointly headed by the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, made Angeles City the first “Justice Zone” on the basis of Joint Resolution 01-2019 signed on March 7 at the meeting of the principals in Manila City.

The Justice Zone is an area where local justice-sector agencies such as the police, prosecutors, judges, public attorneys and managers of detentions facilities identify problems and arrive at common solutions to address them. Through an agreed structure and through two-way communication with the JSCC, the piloting of new activities could take place within the zone. 

During the work planning of the Angeles City Justice Zone, the members proposed to improve institutional case management by strengthening communication, coordination and cooperation within and among criminal-justice sector agencies, to enhance the capacity of criminal-justice sector agencies through improved human resources, facilities and equipment, and to improve jail conditions, as well as the paralegal program of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

Collectively, they have committed to move forward with reforms with the theme: “Abe-abe ban matibe” (translated as “Stronger Together”).

Angeles City is the fourth Justice Zone under the JSCC supported by the EU. It was selected because of its pioneering justice-sector reforms in the region. It is home to pilot projects such as the eCourt, automated hearing, eSubpoena and e-Notice, and is the site of a model Hall of Justice.

The first Justice Zone was introduced in Quezon City in 2014 and continues to be an effective mechanism among justice-sector agencies in the area. The EU likewise supported the establishment of the same in Cebu City in 2018, and one in Davao City in March 2019 through the Governance in Justice (Gojust) Program.

“The EU remains committed to the Philippine Development Plan by supporting the JSCC at the national level and the Justice Zone at the local level,” Jessen. “This initiative has been made possible under the collective leadership of Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra and [Local Government] Secretary Eduardo M. Año. We are confident that this event will spur similar efforts in other parts of the country on local justice coordination. “

Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines Jorge Moragas joined the rest of the envoys for the event later in the day.

The establishment of the new Justice Zone is supported by the Gojust program, a three-and-a-half-year justice sector-support endeavor funded by the EU as an important mechanism for sustainable and long-term reforms. Gojust also works in the area of decongesting the dockets of the courts and the prosecution service, capacity building in financial and administrative management for justice-sector agencies, and the automation of various services for case management.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article

PHL bolsters commitment to environmental protection

Next Article

American biologist wages crusade on this side of the world