MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday assured the public that no government fund was wasted in the construction of a mega drug rehabilitation facility in Nueva Ecija.
This was in response to Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman Dionisio Santiago's earlier statement that the construction of the 10,000-capacity rehabilitation center was "impractical" and a "mistake.”
Acting Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippine government spent nothing in building the facility as it was donated by Chinese tycoons led by self-made billionaire Huang Rulun.
“Wala pong pera ng gobyerno na ginastos diyan sa mega rehab centers na itinayo ‘no. ‘Yan po ay ibinigay ng isang philanthropist na Tsino ‘no,” Roque said in his first press conference in Malacañang.
“So bagamat ganiyan po ang opinion ng pinuno ng Dangerous Drugs Board, eh ang assurance naman po natin, walang nasayang na pondo ng gobyerno. That was a decision made by the donor and we can’t do anything about it.”
The rehabilitation facility was seen to help drug users and pushers who had surrendered under the government's anti-drug campaign, but only 311 have been admitted in its first phase as of June this year.
Santiago, former head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, said admitting drug dependents to the treatment center must have been difficult because of its distance.
"Saan mo panggagalingan 'yun? Yung iba taga-Batangas. Eh sa rehab, kailangan mo ng family support. Paano ka pupunta dun kung pamasahe lang sa loved ones mo, wala ka?" he said.