China builds P350-million drug rehab facility in Sarangani

13 Jan 2018
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ALABEL, Sarangani (January 13, 2018) – The Chinese-funded P350-million regional Dangerous Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DDATRC) broke ground Friday (January 12), marking the onset of its construction.

Chinese Embassy Economic and Commercial Counsellor Jin Yuan said based on the agreement the facility will be completed in 21 months but he hopes combined efforts of the two countries will hasten the completion.

The contractor is China State Construction Engrg. Corp., Ltd.

CSCEC is rated among the “World’s Most Admired Companies” by Fortune magazine and the largest construction, building work contractor and real estate conglomerate in China.

Yuan said since President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China, cooperation was enhanced. “China and Philippine relations has seen healthy and stable development bringing tangible benefits to its peoples.”

Sarangani is one of the recipients of “China-aid Philippines” DDATRC as an offshoot of President Duterte’s state visit to China in October 2016. The other province is Agusan del Sur. Both provinces will each host a 150-bed capacity regional rehab center.

The DDATRC projects were among the consensus reached during the talks between President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

For Sarangani, the memorandum of understanding was signed in March 2017 by Chinese Embassy and Department of Health representatives, witnessed by Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, in Manila followed by a series of onsite visits.

In November 15, 2017, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Duterte led the ceremonial launch of the project.

Regional Director Reynaldo Bungubung of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said the groundbreaking ceremony of the three-hectare rehabilitation center is “an indication that our campaign includes helping drug dependents receive proper treatment and being healed to renew their lives.”

The construction of the facility will be financed by the Chinese Government, while the lot was purchased by the Provincial Government of Sarangani. The operation of the center, however, will be facilitated by the Department of Health (DOH).

The DDATRC will have a floor area of 6,707.56 square meters, including Admission/Administration Building and Clinic, Visitor’s Pavilion/Transition Villa, Staff House/Motorpool Bldg., Male and Female Dormitory Building, Multi-purpose Covered Court and other buildings.

The facility sits on a hill overlooking Sarangani Bay and General Santos City. It is also adjacent to the Provincial Police Office.

According to a projects briefer, “the project design adopts a modernist architectural style. Its main functions include treatment, training, sports and office with adequate facilities.”

“The main façade of the Central Administration Building is like a ‘window of hope’ facing the future which symbolizes the opening of each patient’s heart to help them step into a new and bright future.”

An Inter-Agency Task Force, comprised by DILG, DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Dangerous Drugs Board, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Office of the President, will facilitate the operation of the center intended to “accommodate people suffering from illegal drugs dependence in the province and in nearby areas in the region,” said Bungubung.

He added the rehab center “is the government’s solution to the continuing conduct of barangay clearing operations.”

In Sarangani, the Provincial Anti-Illegal Drug Abuse Program applied the strategies of the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program (CBRP) as a holistic approach in rehabilitating surrendered drug personalities.

Based on their report, a total of 6,569 have surrendered from March to April 2017. However, Governor Solon stressed that not all of them need intense treatment.

The Provincial Anti-Illegal Drug Abuse Council reported that 219 from among them already graduated from CBRP.

Provincial Health Officer Arvin Alejandro reported 25 of the surrenderees have been identified to be at high risk level.

Bungubung said instead of sending drug users and pushers to jail, “rather we will try to treat and rehabilitate low, moderate and severe drug dependents and aid them to start a cleansing” as the DILG remains steadfast in eliminating the drug menace in Region 12.

Solon also pointed out the abrupt drop of crime rate in the region to 70% at the height of the anti-illegal drugs campaign.

DOH Undersecretary Roger P. Tong-An expressed the administration’s “firm and unrelenting effort to curtail substance use and abuse” as specified in one of the marching orders they received from President Duterte.

With this, he said they are projecting to establish one rehab center per region as also promulgated thru Republic Act 9165.

Tong-An likewise said the DOH will also be putting community-based clinics in the LGUs and halfway houses or recovery clinics where most of the livelihood programs will take place before rehabilitated clients will be released. (Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)

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