Drug rehab center in Pangasinan now a ‘go’

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The provincial government is set to implement its plan to build a drug rehabilitation center following the formal donation to the province of a two-hectare property located in Barangay San Vicente, Burgos.

The deed of donation to the property was signed Monday morning by former Burgos Vice Mayor Belen Cabiles, widow of the late former Burgos Mayor Demetrio Cabiles, and their only heir, Aldrin Cabiles, a lawyer, at the provincial capitol.

The deed of donation was accepted by Governor Amado Espino III on behalf of the province.

Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim and Burgos Mayor Alberto Guiang Jr. signed as witnesses.

The widow of the late Mayor Cabiles said the donation was in fulfillment of the wish of her late husband that the lot be formally donated to the province to be used as drug rehabilitation center.

The late Mayor Cabiles already donated the lot to the province in 1992, during the administration of then Governor Rafael Colet, but the donation was not perfected as Colet soon lost in his reelection bid.

Colet served as OIC governor of Pangasinan and was elected for one term during the administration of then President Corazon Aquino.

A resolution of the then Sangguniang Panlalawigan confirming the donation during the succeeding administration of Governor Aguedo Agbayani was not signed by him, rendering the donation incomplete.

Initial construction of the drug rehab center was initiated by then Vice Governor Gonzalo T. Duque, who was designated by Colet as chairman of the Provincial Drug Abuse Council (PDAC), using the Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF) allocated by then Senator Joseph Estrada.

The structures built by the provincial government are still visible at the site but there is doubt if these can still be used considering the length of time that already passed since these were put up.

Aldrin Cabiles, a practicing lawyer in Metro Manila, said the place is about two kilometers away from the town proper of Burgos and really conducive as location of a drug rehabilitation center.

Governor Espino envisions the place as a site of a drug rehab center cum boot camp for drug surrenderers who are lightly and moderately affected by drugs.

Those with severe affectation will be referred to the Dagupan Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center.

Construction of the facility will start in March this year, to be completed by the second or third quarter of this year, said Gov. Espino who set aside PHP8 million for the project.

He said the provincial government will bankroll the drug rehab center but will ask the national government to help.

The governor said he will also ask the help of the Philippine Army since the facility will also function as a boot camp for drug surrenderers.

The provincial government earlier asked the Philippine Army for permission to use part of its military reservation at Camp Tito Abat in Manaoag town as boot camp for drug surrenderers but this was turned down by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Espino said the provincial government will first maximize the site in Burgos as a drug rehab center while it is still looking for other sites in the province where such facility could be built.

Records of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPI) showed that since the war on drugs started, there were 19,090 persons who surrendered in Pangasinan. Leonardo MicuaPNA-northboundasia.com