Drug rehab center in Nueva Ecija rushed
FORT MAGSAYSAY—Workers constructing one of the biggest drug treatment and rehabilitation centers inside this military reservation are inspired by the thought that they have a role in the recovery of thousands of drug dependents.
The 10,000-bed facility here will rise on a 10-hectare portion of the 35,000-hectare reservation, as directed by President Duterte. The first of three buildings will be completed this month and will take in patients in November.
Mr. Duterte signed last Oct. 11 Executive Order No. 4 creating an interagency task force for the establishment and support of drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers in the country.
There were only 16 drug rehabilitation centers accredited by the Department of Health (DOH) in the country and Mr. Duterte said this was not enough to accommodate the 700,000 drug addicts who have surrendered in his first 100 days in office.
The task force has been mandated to put up at least one rehabilitation center in all provinces and has identified military reservations as targeted locations for the centers.
The task force would be led by the Department of Interior and Local Government, the DOH, the Dangerous Drugs Board, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Budget and Management, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and a representative from Malacañang.
Dermie Fermin, a resident of General Tinio town, said he and fellow workers were happy to work overtime because “this building would be responsible for making lives better.”
The military reservation was originally considered as a relocation site for the New Bilibid Prison and the Correctional Institution for Women, until Mr. Duterte set these plans aside due to budgetary issues.
The construction of the buildings to be used as a rehabilitation center has been ongoing since Aug. 28, according to the public affairs office of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division (ID), one of the units based in this sprawling camp.
The two other military camps hosting drug rehab centers are Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan, and Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz.
Fort Magsaysay, established in 1955 and named after the late President Ramon Magsaysay, encompasses the Nueva Ecija towns of Laur, General Tinio, Sta. Rosa and Gabaldon, and Palayan City.
Aside from the 7th ID, the camp hosts the Armed Forces of the Philippines National Training Center.
It also houses the Aquino-Diokno Memorial and Museum and the AFP Center for Human Rights Dialogue.
The 7th ID said Fort Magsaysay would secure drug dependents and personnel who will occupy the facility. —ARMAND GALANG, ANSELMO ROQUE AND GIL CABACUNGAN
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