President Duterte yesterday led the groundbreaking ceremony for Mindanao’s biggest drug treatment and rehabilitation center as he renewed his vow to eradicate illegal drugs and drug lords in the country.
“I have to clean-up and until such time na mapatay ang mga drug lords. Para mawala ni sila sa dalan (kay) maglakaw lakaw mo mahurot mo,” Duterte said at the closing ceremonies of this year’s Kaamulan Festival yesterday at the Capitol grounds here. [I have to clean-up until such time the drug lords will be all gone walking on the street because they will be dead.]
Duterte, who said there are about four million drug addicts in the country, said poverty is not a reason for peddling drugs.
“Do you want four million more addicts? Kinsa man mutobag atong mga bata nga gina-rape, gina-patay? Kinsa man tung mang-hold-up diha sa jeep og gipangpusil? [Who will answer for the children who are being raped and jeepney passengers being held up and shot?… who will answer for these innocent lives?)
“Leche kayo, I will kill you. If you won’t stop, as long as I’m the President, I will destroy you, whether you like it or not,” Duterte told the crowd at the Bukidnon Provincial Capitol grounds in Malaybalay at the culmination of the province’s annual Kaamulan Festival.
He said he doesn’t mind if he goes to prison or rot in hell as long as he gets rid of the drug trade in the country.
“It would be my honor, I’d be happy if I am killed in the altar of [drugs] in the Philippines. It’s my honor to die for my country,” Duterte said.
Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr. welcomed President Duterte and his party at the celebration of the Kaamulan Festival. Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua also graced the occasion.
Gov. Zubiri, who is also the Regional Development Council 10 chairman, said this year’s ethnic festival enabled tourists to learn more about the rich culture of Bukidnon tribes as it fostered unity and peace in line with President Duterte’s road map for peace, security, and sustainable development.
Immediately after his speech and photo opportunity, President Duterte proceeded to Purok 17, Casisang, Malaybalay City, to lead the groundbreaking ceremony for the soon-to-be-built P700-million Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DARTC) donated by the China-based group, Friends of the Philippines Foundation (FPF). Once completed, the facility will be Mindanao’s biggest treatment and rehabilitation center.
The facility will provide services such as livelihood programs, capability building activities, and skills training for the recovering drug dependents. It will also have sports and recreational amenities for the drug users as well as a training center for medical practitioners, health workers, and volunteers of the taskforce DARTC.
Gov. Zubiri said that aside from the rehab center, various Chinese business groups will also invest in more than a dozen projects in the province.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, in a statement, said the rehab center project started with the recent signing of a memorandum of agreement between the FPF, as benefactor, and three government agencies, including the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The senator said Malaybalay was chosen as the rehab’s base because it is equidistant or midway from various progressive cities in Mindanao. “Bukidnon is an ideal location for the project because it is centrally located to Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and General Santos,” he added.
“Bukidnon is at the heart of Mindanao. Therefore, establishment of this facility, which will have a capacity to house and handle more than 5,000 recovering drug dependents, is a guarantee that all cities in Mindanao will be catered,” he said.
“We are very lucky and definitely happy that the group, Friends of the Philippines Foundation, is donating to us P700 million worth of a rehabilitation center in Mindanao. I am very thankful that the President and Secretary Bong Go chose Bukidnon,” Senator Zubiri said.
Putting it (rehab center) in Malaybalay, with its cool climate being 2,000 feet above sea level, will definitely be a plus factor for (the recovery of) drug dependents seeking rehabilitation, said Zubiri.
The architect’s perspective of the rehabilitation center was unveiled yesterday, showcasing a rare type of rehabilitation complex with a sprawling resort.
Inside the five-hectare sprawling rehabilitation complex are four basketball courts, an indoor gymnasium, swimming pool, training centers, and dormitory-type of accommodation.
The facility may formally open by December, 2017, Sen. Zubiri said.
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