DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 July) — Camp San Gabriel in Mintal here will be the pilot for the rehabilitation centers-in-military camps project that President Rodrigo Duterte announced during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25.
Duterte in his SONA said he will prioritize the rehabilitation of drug users, increase the number of residential treatment and rehabilitation facilities in all regions of the country and added that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “will facilitate the preparations for the use of military camps and facilities for drug rehabilitation.”
Duterte explained that by the sheer number of persons who have “surrendered” as drug users and pushers – 130,000 nationwide as of the last report sent to him – only the military camps nationwide have enough space on which rehabilitation facilities can be set up.
He cited a report by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) three years ago that around 3 million Filipinos are drug addicts.
He told MindaNews and Rappler’s Davao City correspondent Editha Caduaya in Bahay Pagbabago, his official residence in Malacanang at past 1 a.m. on July 26 that the rehabilitation facilities – one for males and another for females will be inside military camps “as long as there are addicts.”
“Syarog naa pay mu-eskapo ana. Hadlok ra sila mapusilan” (Let’s see if somebody will dare escape. They will be afraid to get shot ), he said while breaking into an impish smile.
Located near the University of the Philippines in Mindanao (UP-Min), Camp San Gabriel is the headquarters of the 11th Regional Community Defense Group of the Philippine Army.
Duterte said the facilities will be run by professionals.
“Asa kag kwarta?” (Where will you get the money for this), MindaNews asked.
“Maghanap ako” (I’ll find the money), he said. “Sabi ko lagi, itong Pilipinas pag-nakolekta mo lahat, wala nang graft and corruption (As I said, if we collect the taxes properly, if we end graft and corruption), the Philippines has enough money.
At least 130,000 alleged drug users and pushers around the country have “surrendered” to the police or local chief executives, Duterte said.
But his war on drugs has also left at least 200 persons dead in the first three weeks of the Duterte administration.
A report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), released on the day of Duterte’ SONA, said that based on police data, “about 10 bodies have been showing up by the road and in the slums every day, or a total of 213 killed in Duterte’s first 21 days in office alone.”
“The casualty toll includes 209 civilians and only four policemen that the police had tagged as alleged drug pushers,” the report said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)