By Roy Mabasa
Representatives from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Department of Health (DOH) led the groundbreaking ceremony of two separate Dangerous Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers in Mindanao, the first-ever Chinese grant-aid construction projects in the Philippines.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the Chinese embassy said the project would provide for the construction of two modern and scientific drug rehabilitation centers fitted with comfortable treatment environment for the patients.
Each center will have a gross area of 6,750 square meters that could accommodate about 150 beds. Each of the building will also have an admission office, or an administration building, a pavilion or transition villa, staff house, motor pool building, a male and female dormitory building, and a multipurpose covered court.
Chinese Embassy’s Economic and Commercial Counselor Jin Yuan, who was present during the event, said the twin project is the fruit of President Duterte’s state visit in China in 2016 and “one of the many benefits that resulted from the enhanced cooperation and healthy relationship between the two countries.”
“The Chinese government will always extend a helping hand when our close neighbor and friend is in need,” the Chinese official said.
Aside from helping the Philippine government in its anti-illegal drugs campaign, Jin said China has also extended cash assistance to the earthquake-affected Surigao City, machine and equipment grants for the rehabilitation of Marawi, and financial assistance for the areas struck by typhoon “Vinta.”
“I believe under President Duterte’s leadership, together with the efforts of the Philippine people, the disaster-affected areas will soon be rebuilt into even better places,” he said.
Jin assured that China will continue its “mutually beneficial cooperation” with the Philippines. “I believe with our joint efforts, we will share a very bright future together,” he added.
Also in attendance was Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-An who represented DOH Secretary Francisco Duque. “Let us continue to weave collaborative strategies as we introduce meaningful transformation and significant change for our people… Let us all bear the torch of change and be a beacon of hope for the society especially to those who have fallen victim to the lure of illicit drugs,” Tong-An said.