The construction in Bohol of one of the four major drug rehabilitation centers in the country under the Duterte administration will be essential to the anti-drug abuse program of both the province and region.
Gov. Edgar Chatto welcomed the planned Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) as he emphasized the national, regional and local importance of the project.
The 500-bed center will be located inside the Camp Rajah Sikatuna of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Carmen, an interior town.
Relentless in his anti-drug campaign, the governor on Wednesday witnessed the signing here of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of the DATRC Task Force organized by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
Proponent agencies of the project led by Cabinet Sec. Leoncio Evasco of the Office of the President and Department of Health (DOH) Sec. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, among others, are all set for the establishment of the facility, Chatto said.
They inked the agreement which coincided with the groundbreaking of the project for the upgrading of the existing Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City.
The signing was also witnessed by Department of Interior and Local government (DILG) Usec. John Castriciones, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) officials, and representatives from the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), AFP and private sector Kausaban Foundation.
Chatto thanked Boholano Special Envoy to China Ding Borja for facilitating the donations of the Chinese businessmen who fund the rehabilitation project.
The DATRC are for the “severely-affected” drug dependents.
The moderate users are considered outpatients and to be managed by the Center for Drug Education and Counseling (CEDEC) facilities.
The slightly-affected can be managed under the appropriate community-based rehabilitation program, which the CEDEC facilities to be established in all local government units (LGUs) can also assist.
Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, a former board member chairing the health committee of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), is the chief of the provincial CEDEC based in the city.
The local anti-drug abuse councils, puroks and families can themselves help manage the slightly-affected victims.
The DATRC in Bohol is in pursuit of Duterte’s marching order to establish four mega- or major drug rehabilitation centers in the country—two in Luzon, one in the Visayas and one in Mindanao.
This was emphasized in a separate meeting with Castriciones also on Wednesday, according to Lopez.
Lopez said the national government must have selected Bohol to host one of the four drug rehabilitation facilities because of the strong representation of Evasco, an influential Boholano in the Duterte government.
The province itself has own plan to establish a rehabilitation center on the island-town of Pres. Garcia and has, in fact, already a project design.
The governor has in mind to defer the plan once the DATRC, a national program assisted by the private sector, in Carmen is done and operational, Lopez said during the “Kita ug Ang Gobernador” program on Friday.
Chatto could not appear at his regular weekly interaction with the media as he was attending the installation of the new bishop of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.
The province is fully supporting the DATRC project, stressed Lopez who is also the governor’s health services program consultant.
The support includes the province’s serious anti-drug interventions thru the CEDEC and the so-called “protok (prosperity tokhang)” teams.
During the DATRC signing, Chatto thanked Duterte thru Evasco and Ubial for selecting Bohol as one of the sites of the essential project.
The drug rehabilitation project agreement is hoped to contribute to enabling genuine transformation, public health and sanity, safer society, and productive citizenry.
Chatto said the rehabilitation center emphasizes the fact that addiction is a health concern and levels of intervention can help bring back to “life” the victim.
The governor assured the health secretary that the provincial government will fully support the DOH in making sure that running the DATRC will be a success in Bohol.