China’s first infrastructure project here in the Philippines, a drug rehabilitation center, took less than a year to finish, according to Sarangani Governor Steve Solon.
The P350-million Chinese-funded Soccsksargen Dangerous Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DDATRC) had its groundbreaking on January 12. It was then turned over last week to the provincial government, which provided the three-hectare property in the village of Kawas overlooking Sarangani Bay and nearby General Santos City.
“We are not talking about a rehabilitation center that looks good on paper but one that will really reform the patient,” Solon said.
A project briefer of the 150-bed capacity rehabilitation center said the main façade of the central administration building is like a “window of hope facing the future.” It symbolizes the opening of each patient’s heart “so that they can have a new and bright future.”
A friend of the Philippines
Among those who graced the turnover rites are Chinese Commercial Counselor Jin Yuan, Chinese Consul General to Davao Li Lin and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
China’s commitment to help in the development of the Philippines despite the two countries’ dispute over the West Philippine Sea was also reaffirmed by Jin.
In a statement, Jin said, “The completion of this cozy center fully demonstrates that the Chinese government will never let you down.”
“The Chinese people will always stand by your side and China will help within our capacity to boost the development of the Philippines,” Jin added.
According to the Chinese official, China is and will always be a good neighbor as well as a sincere friend and close partner of the Philippines.
The rehabilitation center project, Duque said, was launched to address the need for more rehabilitation centers for Filipino drug users.
He also said that the Duterte administration considered drug abuse and dependency as “a public health priority.”
The center will be managed by the Department of Health (DOH).
Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency showed that as of November, the official death toll of the government’s all-out war against illegal drugs already reached at least 5,050 since President Duterte assumed power in July 2016.
The government’s gratitude to the Chinese government “for the assistance and support for this administration’s campaign against illegal drugs” was extended by Duque.
During the talks between Mr. Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in October 2016, one of the agreements reached was about Sarangani being one of the recipients of “China-aid Philippines” DDATRC projects.
Agusan del Sur is the other beneficiary, where construction of a rehab center is still ongoing.