President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday showed how he wants the Philippines’ allies to prove that they are indeed the country’s friends—support the his war on drugs by building rehabilitation centers for the country’s addicts.
In a speech at the 115th anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard, Duterte presented a newspaper report on the China-funded construction of the “mega rehab center” in Nueva Ecija.
Among the guests at the event were officials of the US Coast Guard.
“If you are a friend, if you are an ally, if you are joined by a Western alliance, you should do this,” Duterte said, while holding up the newspaper showing the photo of the drug rehabilitation being built.
“It’s a dormitory, apartment, backhouses. And they have built it for us. Ni hi no ha. No announcement. And it would house 1,600,” the President then revealed.
He said that the project would be completed by October 15.
“This is how you treat your friends. You do not go about reprimanding,” Duterte stressed anyway.
The President explained that the criticisms against his manner of speaking, particulary on his war on drugs were baseless because it was never illegal to threaten criminals.
“So that was the reason why I do not—I gave them the best of my epithets, my slur and curses for axing, acting too stupid and bringing me into the public international scene and on my shoulders the Filipino people. Because it would put the Filipinos in shame everywhere when you do that,” he argued.
“And that is why I am the guy, if I don’t respect you anymore, be prepared for the worst, because I can give you gallons of gallons of epithets, curses and… But look at this guy when they are—they joke them, and then I said I will not pity them,” Duterte continued.
The President then repeated his intention to stop military exercises beginning 2017.
“Well, I said I am thankful because… I insist that we’re re-aligned, that there will be no more exercises next year. Do not prepare, I told Defense Secretary [Delfin] Lorenzana. Do not make preparations for next year’s… I do not want it anymore and I will chart an independent foreign policy,” he declared.
Nonetheless, no alliances or existing treaties will be abrogated, Duterte said.
Mega Drug Treament
The Department of Health on Wednesday said the Mega Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center being constructed in a military camp in Nueva Ecija is halfway finished and will be fully operational on the first week of November.
“Six weeks after foundations were laid, building structures gradually took shape and now, 50 percent of the facility has been constructed,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial told reporters at a press conference.
It was constructed on a 75,000 hectare land at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, she said.
Ubial said the construction of the drug rehabilitation center began in July 2016, but full swing construction started soon after she went to Beijing, China last September to sign a deed of donation with Chinese businessman and philanthropist Huang Rulun.
Rulun donated a total of 10,000 bed facilities for the rehabilitation center, she said.
Partial turnover of 2,500 of these bed facilities will be on Saturday, while turnover for the remaining 7,500 will be done on Nov. 16.
Rulun is a private-held real estate developer who has invested in 20 five-star hotels and 10 shopping malls in China.
Ubial said Rulun met with Duterte thrice to ask how he could help address the drug problem in the country: twice during his campaign and once after he assumed office.
As for the other amenities in the facility, Ubial said the right wing of the building, which can accommodate almost 1,000 in-patients and offices, are ready to be furnished, while the left wing of the building and the female dormitory are still being constructed.
“Facilities will be ready for occupancy on Oct. 17, but people will not be transferred until November,” Ubial said.
“It is expected to be finished by the end of October 2016,” she added.
Duterte at the event also led the commissionship ceremony of the first multi-role response vessel, MRRV-4401 Tubbataha.
It was the first of the 10 MRRVs built for t5he Philippines at the Yokohama Shipyard in Japan.
The MRRVs were acquired through the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project. It was awarded by the Transportation Department to the Japan Marine United Corporation as implemented by the Official Development Assistance.
Japan International Cooperation Agency extended a loan of P7.4 billion out of the P8.8 total project cost.
BRP Tubbataha and all the other MRRVs feature fire monitors, night vision camera, radio direction finder, a workboat, and a bulletproof navigational bridge.
The next MRRV is expected arrive in the Philippines in December. It will be named after Lighthouse Malabrigo in Lobo, Batangas. —NB/BAP, GMA News