The government will put up four big facilities to rehabilitate drug addicts who surrendered to authorities, Interior Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno said Thursday.
He said P2.7 billion will be needed to build the four rehabilitation centers.
Sueno said President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to give priority to the construction of the facilities.
This plan, according to Sueno, only proves that the Duterte administration is not only focused on killing people hooked on illegal drugs, but also on their rehabilitation.
There are 15 government-owned and 27 private treatment and rehabilitation centers in the country that are accredited with the Department of Health (DOH). However, these facilities will not be enough to accommodate the thousands of drug addicts who surrender to authorities every week.
From July 1 to 21, 116,466 drug suspects surrendered and 3,005 were arrested by authorities. The Philippine National Police on Thursday said at least 213 drug suspects were killed during the same period.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said a drug facility that can house 500 people costs P674 million.
Sueno said Duterte plans to put up at least one rehabilitation center each in Mindanao and Visayas, and one each in Northern and Southern Luzon.
The DILG chief added that Duterte has directed Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco Jr. to talk to DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno to look for money for the establishment of rehabilitation centers.
“The President hates drug addicts and drug lords but at the same time he loves them. Why? He wants to help them, not imprison or kill them,” Sueno said.
He added that the government is working with the Catholic Church and faith-based groups to show them that the intensified campaign against illegal drugs is not just about executing drug suspects.
“We are not about killing drug addicts and pushers. We want to rehabilitate. We want to follow the rule of law,” Sueno stressed.
He said government also plans to ask corporations to help rehabilitate drug users.
Evasco, Sueno said, had identified government programs that can be tapped to offer community service, training or alternative learning system for drug surrenderers such as the National Greening Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.