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QC's dilemma: Where to put drug surrenderees

Authorities in Quezon City recently hailed the success of Oplan Kapak where over 700 suspected drug pushers and users turned themselves in as a first step to mend their ways.

With hundreds of drug dependents now needing help, the city government's drug rehabilitation center is filled to capacity and authorities are now scratching their heads on where to bring those who heeded their call.

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said on Sunday there was a lack of coordination when Oplan Kapak (katok at pakiusap) was rolled out last week.

"We could have had councilors, further councilors present. Pwede na sigurong ihiwalay yung grave users doon sa mga hindi naman masyadong addict para meron nang categorization," Belmonte told GMA News' "24 Oras."

The city's rehabilitation and treatment center in Barangay Payatas is under the Office of the Vice Mayor. The center, also known as Tahanan ng Pagasa, has a capacity of 150.

To address this, Belmonte said they will be requesting the city's health department to increase its capacity.

"Kasi sa Tahanan naman, six months and program. Pag may lumalabas, ipipila na natin siya para pwede na siyang pumasok," she said.

Oplan Kapak was an initiative of the city government and the Quezon City Police District to encourage drug users and pushers to surrender to avail of certain incentives such as rehabilitation assistance, and the provision of basic needs for their families.

QCPD director Edgardo Tinio however denied Belmonte's claim.

"May coordination po kami... Kami po ay laging nakikipagtulungan at nakikipag-coordinate sa opisina ni VM (Vice Mayor)," Tinio said in a text message to GMA News. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/APG, GMA News