MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday revealed that China has offered to build drug rehabilitation centers in the Philippines to complement his ongoing war against illegal drugs.
''They are offering to build rehabilitation centers in the military camps, good,'' Duterte said during a visit at a military camp in Rizal.
Due to the lack of drug rehabilitation centers in the country, the government has been struggling to address the needs of drug dependents who have been turning themselves in to authorities.
Nearly 700,000 drug users and pushers have surrendered since Duterte waged his war on drugs, and Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa said the police aim to round up 1.8 million drug dependents in the entire country.
The Chinese offer comes at time when Manila and Beijing are trying to mend ties, following years of animosity over the South China Sea dispute during the Aquino administration.
Duterte has sought to downplay the Hague-based arbitral tribunal's decision which invalidated China's expansive claim to the sea.
Political analyst Richard Heydarian told a foreign news channel that Duterte is taking a pragmatic approach in dealing with a wealthy China.
Heydarian noted, Duterte also wants less dependence on its traditional ally, the United States, when it comes to dealing with China.
Duterte earlier sent former president Fidel Ramos to Hong Kong to meet with the former leader's friends there, in an attempt to thaw the ice-cold relationship between the two Asian neighbors.
While he has been striking a conciliatory tone with China, he warned the latter against invading the Philippines.
''I guarantee to them na kung kayo ang pumasok dito, it will be bloody and we will not give it to them easily,'' he said.
(I guarantee to them [China] that if you invade us, it will be bloody and we will not give it to them easily.)