MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Wednesday, June 28, said the government remains grateful to Chinese tycoon Huang Rulun for funding the mega drug treatment and rehabilitation center (TRC) in Nueva Ecija.
This, after it was reported on Tuesday, June 27, that Huang is being investigated in Beijing over bribery allegations.
"We are [saddened] by [the] turn of events for our generous donor of the mega TRC in Nueva Ecija. No matter what the outcome of his investigation is, we will forever be grateful to him!" Ubial told Rappler in a text message when sought for comment.
Huang's company, Century Golden Resources Group, has been tagged by Chinese state media as a source of bribes paid to Bai Enpai, the party secretary of Yunnan province, in connection with a corruption case, according to a Financial Times report.
The Chinese real estate tycoon is seen as one of the major figures in the thawing of Sino-Philippine relations under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Malacau00f1ang file photo
In 2016, Huang donated P1.4 billion for two drug rehabilitation centers occupying a total area of 100,000 square meters. The mega TRC in Nueva Ecija covers only a construction area of 60,000 square meters.
Last week during a public forum, Ubial said 321 patients have already been admitted to the mega TRC. (READ: No more 'mega' drug rehab centers after Nueva Ecija facility?)
"Hindi po natin pinipilit na malagyan po ng 10,000 people 'yung mega treatment and rehab facility, kasi may proseso po tayo, ina-assess po 'yung pasyente. Hindi naman po ibig sabihin na 1.3 million 'yung ating surrenderers, lahat po 'yan kailangan ipasok natin sa treatment and rehab centers," she said on June 21.
(We're not forcing to fill up the mega treatment and rehab facility with 10,000 people because we have a process, and we assess patients. It doesn't mean that if we have 1.3 million surrenderers, all of them have to be admitted to treatment and rehab centers.)
Launched almost a year ago, the Duterte administration's war on drugs has already seen 1,306,389 drug surrenderers as of June 13, based on figures from the Philippine National Police (PNP). – Rappler.com
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.