MANILA--Mental health advocates on Friday said that the final version of the mental health bill that was passed and signed into law this week has the best features and representing the different concerns of the sectors that pushed for the past 17 years.
"Due to different provisions, gumanda po ito nang gumanda umabot ng (it was polished until it was perfected and reached about) 30 plus versions," Dr. Ed Tolentino, former president of the Philippine Psychiatrict Association (PPA), told a press conference in Quezon City.
Tolentino said that those versions actually incorporated different inputs from various concerned agencies and groups, including patients and their families.
"The style for the crafting of the law was highly inclusive. It was shown to representatives from Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to the Department of Health (DOH) Central Office and even to patients and their families," Tolentino added.
He added that another welcomed feature of the law was the inclusion of provision on drug abuse problem, in recognition that it is a mental health issue.
Under the Mental Health Law, those who have drug addiction problem as defined under Republic Act 9165 or Dangerous Drugs Act, will be assessed and be given the necessary services proivided by the law.
Meanwhile, he said that DOH, the lead agency in the formulation of the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR), will be convening a meeting with representatives of the advocacy groups to craft the law's IRR.
Some of the basic features of the law is promoting well-being of individuals in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities.
The law is also expected to improve Filipino's access to psychosocial services such as therapy and medication. (PNA)