By Genalyn Kabiling
No public funds were utilized in the construction of the mega drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija, Malacañang assured the public on Thursday.
A day after Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chair Dionisio Santiago claimed the establishment of the huge drug treatment facility was a mistake, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the project was bankrolled by a Chinese philanthropist, not by the Philippine government.
Santiago earlier said the 10,000-bed drug treatment facility in Nueva Ecjia was impractical. He said money should have been used instead to establish community-based rehabilitation centers that allow a family support system.
“So bagamat ganyang po ang opinion ng pinuno ng Dangerous Drugs Board, eh ang assurance naman po natin, walang nasayang na pondo ng gobyerno [Although that was the opinion of the Dangerous Drugs Board head, our assurance is no government funds were wasted there]. That was a decision made by the donor and we can’t do anything about it,” Roque said.
Roque however said the government would consider the suggestion of the DDB chairman on creating community-based drug treatment programs in the future. “If we are to invest public funds, we will pursue the strategy recommended by the head of the DDB,” he said.
Chinese tycoon Huang Rulun earlier donated P1.4 billion for the establishment of the huge drug rehabilitation facility located in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. President Duterte has profusely thanked the Chinese billionaire for his donation, even describing him a as good Samaritan.
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