In China, PH health chief signs deal for mega drug rehab center

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial recently went to China, where she signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the construction of a 10,000-bed mega treatment and rehabilitation center in the country.

Health Spokesperson Eric Tayag said this on Tuesday, September 20, as he explained Ubial's absence during the press conference.

"Mayroon hong nagbigay ng tulong sa ating bansa para magkaroon po tayo ng 10,000-bed mega treatment and [rehabilitation] center, 'yun po 'yung sa Fort Magsaysay," Tayag explained.

(Someone helped our country so that we can have a 10,000-bed mega treatment and rehabilitation center, that's the one in Fort Magsaysay.)

He is not sure, however, if the MOU is between the Philippine government and the Chinese government.

Malacañang on Monday, September 19, said at least 4 drug rehabilitation centers will be built in military camps in major regions in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier mentioned that one of the centers would be built in Fort Magsaysay, a military camp in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

He had even said that the Chinese government has offered to help pay for the facility.

Since July 1, there have been 3,295 deaths linked to the Duterte administration's "war" on illegal drugs. Of these, 1,167 are drug personalities killed in police operations, while 2,128 are victims of extrajudicial or vigilante-style killings.

The campaign has also seen 715,699 drug surrenderers, most of which (662,594) are drug users, while the rest (53,105) are drug pushers. (READ: IN NUMBERS: The Philippines' 'war on drugs')

Data from the Dangerous Drugs Board shows there are only 15 government-owned residential treatment and rehabilitation centers in the country.

In a September 14 press conference, Ubial revealed that only around 500 out of more than 700,000 drug surrenderers have been admitted in existing treatment and rehabilitation centers in the country.  (READ: War on drugs: Rehabilitation must be more than a knee-jerk reaction)

Ubial is now on her way to New York to attend a series of conferences. She will be back in the country next week. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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