Duterte creates task force to oversee drug rehab centers

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 4 providing for the establishment and support of drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers (DATRCs) throughout the country.

The interior secretary will chair the task force with the health secretary and chair of the Dangerous Drugs Board as vice-chairpersons. The other members of the task force include the social welfare secretary, the budget secretary, the director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and a representative of the Office of the President.

Among others, the inter-agency task force is assigned to do the following:

The task force was also instructed to establish DATRCs in military reservations to address the congestion in existing drug centers. The defense secretary and Armed Forces chief of staff will sit as additional members of the task force as needed in discussions involving military reservations.

As of October 13, there are at least 740,245 drug dependents who have surrendered since the government started its campaign against illegal drugs last July. A large majority, over 686,000, are users, while over 53,000 are pushers. Of the surrenderers, only about 500 have been admitted to rehabilitation centers.

The EO, issued on Tuesday, October 11 by Duterte, specified that it will be the health department that will operate, maintain and manage the centers, including those in military reservations.

Funding for the implementation of the EO shall be sourced from the appropriations of the task force members and other applicable funding sources, subject to pertinent laws, rules and regulations. Budgetary requirements for the succeeding fiscal years shall be incorporated in the budget proposals of concerned agencies, the EO said.

In addition, each department and agency represented in the task force, according to the EO, “may receive donations and other forms of assistance in accordance with applicable laws and issuances” for purposes relevant to the implementation of the EO.

MEGA DTRC. Chinese businessman Huang Rulun donates a 10,000-bed drug treatment facility. DOH file photo

MEGA DTRC. Chinese businessman Huang Rulun donates a 10,000-bed drug treatment facility.

DOH file photo

On Friday, October 14, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua announced that a Chinese businessman is donating a 12-hectare drug rehab center that will cover 120,000 square meters (12 hectares).

Another Chinese businessman, Huang Rulun, had already donated a 10,000-bed mega drug treatment and rehab center in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. It is expected to be fully operational by November this year. – Rappler.com