President Rodrigo Duterte led the inauguration of the 10,000-bed “megafacility” for drug rehabilitation and treatment in Laur, Nueva Ecija province on Tuesday, November 29.
Constructed at a 10-hectare military camp, the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) could offer an alternative to Duterte’s rough approach in dealing with drug users and pushers. The center can accommodate about 700,000 drug users who surrendered to authorities through the Philippine National Police’s “Oplan Tokhang”.
In a statement, the Malacañang said that the DATRC is part of the government’s effort to address the health component of the war against drugs. It will accommodate those willing to submit to treatment.
Each of the four sections of the treatment centre can accommodate up to 2,500 patients.
Department of Health Chief Paulyn Ubial said “We hope that it will really help the victims of the illegal drug trade. The patients are actually victims of the illegal drug trade so we want to ensure that they are provided adequate and compassionate services for rehabilitation.”
Ubial added that the first batch of patients would come from overpopulated drug rehab centers in Central Luzon and nearby places. However, only male patients will occupy the new center.
Huang Rulun, a Chinese billionare and real estate magnate, donated funds for the construction of the center. Rulun was once a trader in Chinatown district in Manila in the 1980’s.
According to Duterte, Huang “came out of nowhere” and approached him to help solve the drug problem.
Duterte Berates West for Criticizing War on Drugs
In his speech, the firebrand leader also attacked the West, without directly mentioning it, for criticizing his war on drugs.
“When you are a friend, you do not treat him badly before the public. You don’t humiliate an ally, and at all cost you must save the friendship as an ally and friend so that you can help each other in the world of geopolitics,” Duterte said.