Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Wednesday said the “mega” drug rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija is almost finished and will be operational in November.
Construction of the rehabilitation center started in July.
“Six weeks after the foundations were laid, building structures gradually took shape and now almost 50 percent of the facility has been constructed,” Ubial said in a news conference.
In September, she went to Beijing Chin to sign the deed of donation for the 100,000-square meter facility donated by Huang Ru Lun, a Chinese businessman and philanthropist.
Huang has been listed in the Hurun Philanthropy List for 13 years, ranking second next to Alibaba Group Holding.
Some of his investments include 20 five-star hotels ant 10 shopping malls.
He has met with Rodrigo Duterte thrice, twice before his presidency and once after being elected.
Ubial said Huang asked the President how he can help and then later decided to donate a drug rehabilitation center to support Duterte’s war against drugs.
Turnover of 2,500 beds for 10,000-bed drug rehabilitation center is set for Saturday, October 15.
It will also be the soft opening for the staff to familiarize themselves with the facilities and to conceptualize the flow of patients.
At present, there are around 600 hired health workers, who came from different drug rehabilitation centers in Luzon, to man the center and to train new staff, said Elmer Punzalan, Health assistant secretary.
This is two-thirds of the projected 908 health workers, enough to cater to the needs of 2,500 in-patients.
Meanwhile, there are also health workers for this facility training with an addiction specialist from World Health Organization in Tagaytay.
The remaining 7,500 beds will be delivered a month later on November 16.
Materials used for this facility were shipped from China and have been used in facilities in China and Japan.
Ubila said Huang donated 75 container vans of materials and 21 are here, according to the Bureau of Customs.
The Nueva Ecija drug rehabilitation center can withstand winds of 200 kilometers per hour, the usual speed of winds of storms in the country.
The center, however, could be reinforced by cables to withstand typhoons with 300 kph winds.
It is also fire-proof.
Ubial said in-patients can start transferring during the first week of November.
She added that from around 732,000 surrenderers as of October, only one to two percent need to be in-patients.
Priority patients are those from the drug rehabilitation center in Bicutan in Taguig City (Metro Manila), the largest at present.
It was designed for 550 patients but it houses more than a thousand.
The Department of Health encourages family and community involvement in the campaign against drugs so “the patients will most likely come from Luzon,” Ubial said.
A court order must be issued to a patient before he or she can be admitted to the Nueva Ecija rehabilitation center.
This is after profiling listed surrenders and sorting them as mild, moderate and severe.
Patients classified under severe will be admitted and will be reassessed for their payment capacity.
Costs for treatment in this facility will range from 0 to 10,000 pesos.
The government plans seven more drug rehabilitation centers—three “mega” and four regional.
Around P3 billion is the proposed budget for the construction of these eight centers under the 2017 budget.
For the additional rehabilitation centers, Ubial said, the government is eyeing Capiz and Bohol in the Visayas and Saranggani and Bukidnon in Mindanao.