• PH, China sign drug rehab pact

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    The Department of Finance (DoF) on Tuesday said it has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Health (DoH) on the construction of drug rehabilitation facilities to be funded by a 50-million yuan grant from China.

    In a statement, the DoF explained that the 50-million yuan aid, equivalent to $7.5 million, is half of the 100-million yuan grant that China has pledged to the Philippines during President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to Beijing in October last year, through an Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd and China Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.

    The Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation states that “in accordance with the needs of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, the Government of the People’s Republic of China agrees to provide the Government of the Philippines with a grant of RMB Yuan 100,000,000 [one hundred million Renminbi Yuan only], which shall be disbursed to implement the projects for illegal drugs and law enforcement security cooperation.”

    According to Dominguez, the other half of the grant will be used to procure law-enforcement-related equipment to be divided among the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Presidential Security Group.

    The DoF said the agreement with the DoH, the Finance department is tasked to coordinate with the Chinese government all concerns that will ensure the “successful and smooth implementation of the sub-grant to the DoH.”

    Finance Assistant Secretary Maria Edita Tan said the agreement also states that the DoF shall “coordinate with and/or secure the approval of the DoH” on all matters relating to the design and specifications of the sub-grant” and the “supply, delivery, implementation and acceptance arrangements” related to it.

    In turn, the DoH will be responsible for, among others, identifying and providing the sites for the proposed drug rehabilitation facilities and securing the necessary clearances, approvals and permits for their construction, Tan said.

    The DoH is also responsible for providing the necessary information and assistance to the Chinese government or its designated consultants to enable the latter to facilitate the supply and delivery and installation or construction of the drug rehabilitation facilities, according to the agreement.

    Under the agreement, counterpart funding for the construction, installation and maintenance of utilities necessary for the smooth operation and implementation of the sub-grant shall be provided by the DoH, either through its own budget, assistance from the private sector or, if allowable, the Chinese government.

    MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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