That was how Dionisio Santiago, chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) described the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center put up in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.
Santiago said the center, which can serve 10,000 patients, is an “impractical” solution to the country’s drug problem.
The massive rehabilitation center was constructed on a 75,000 hectare property in Palayan City. It has 172 building units.
“The [mega rehabilitation center]is impractical. It is a mistake. The budget should have been used for ‘community-based’ rehabilitation. Community-based is more effective,” Santiago said in a television interview on Wednesday.
He said there are only 400 drug users being treated in the Ecija center.
Former Health secretary Paulyn Ubial had said the right wing of the rehabilitation center could accommodate 1,000 people
The facility was constructed in 2016. The materials used to set up the center were donated by Chinese real estate mogul Huang Rulun.
The “community-based” treatment being pushed by Santiago focuses on intervention efforts of villages to reduce drug dependency in their areas.
The intervention includes the “voluntary surrender” of drug dependents, family programs, community care, “relapse prevention” workshops and seminars, and counseling.
Santiago said President Rodrigo Duterte must have been “overly-excited” when he approved the construction of the mega rehabilitation center.
The DDB chief said drug dependents from far-away places would find it hard to travel to the Ecija facility.
“In rehabilitation, you need family support. How would you go to rehabilitation if you don’t have fare to see your loved ones?” Santiago said.