Mega drug rehab facility proves President Duterte a man of his word, officials say

FORT RAMON MAGSAYSAY, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija — The opening of the first ever mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) inside this military reservation has shown not only the determination of President Rodrigo Duterte to eliminate the illegal drugs trade but also his sincerity, officials who witnessed the inauguration Tuesday, said.

Rep. Rosanna Vergara, Nueva Ecija’s third congressional district and wife of Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara, said the establishment of the facility that could accommodate up to 10,000 drug dependents when fully operational shows that the Chief Executive is really doing the things that he says.

“It only proves to me that he’s a man who walks the talk. Sinabi niya, gagawin niya (what he said, he will do it),” Vergara said.

The lady solon also expressed hope that the availability of a huge facility like mega DATRC will stop the extra judicial killings that has been assailed by some quarters.

“Like what he said, it’s a war, so there are casualties. But I hope now that the existence of a facility like this, all these senseless violence will end,” she said.

Vergara also expressed appreciation on the location being inside the military camp.

Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, head of the Central Luzon police, said the mega DATRC provides an opportunity for greater success on their Oplan Double Barrel, an anti-criminality campaign that is mainly anchored on eliminating illegal drugs.

Aquino noted that all police stations, in coordination with local government units (LGUs), have established their respective Bahay Pagbabago as reformatory centers for drug surrenderers.

But such centers, he said, can accommodate only 50 to 100 drug dependents. Some were good only to 20 persons, he noted.

“We are happy with the opening of this mega rehab center because in the first place, we do not have funds for this. With this, there is now a place for our drug dependents,” he added.

President Duterte led the inauguration of the DATRC phase 1 on Tuesday.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the facility will initially be available for patients from Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Pampanga and Tarlac who are classified “moderate” as well as those already recovering from overcrowded existing facilities.

Unlike in existing facilities where patients are mostly forced to go on rehabilitation by court orders, mega DATRC will accomodate surrenderers or voluntary patients.

“Those who want to enter here will pass through the social worker. Those who can pay should pay and those who are assessed indigent, there is nothing to pay. It is just like our hospital where social worker will assess the patient,” Ubial said.

“The situation in this mega treatment and rehab center is that those who will undergo rehabilitation is voluntary. The process is that they will surrender first to the barangay and then the doctor will assess them if they can be community-based or residential. If residential, they will be brought here to undergo the program for six to 12 months depending on the situation of the patients,” the Health chief added. Marilyn Espiritu-Galang/