MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon – For the nth time, President Rodrigo Duterte has again threatened to kill big names in the illegal drug trade as he graced the groundbreaking of the P700-million drug rehabilitation center here on Saturday, March 25.
“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 thousands of crowd at the Bukidnon Provincial Capitol grounds on the culmination of the province’s annual Kaamulan Festival.
He said he does not mind if he goes to prison or rot in hell as long as the 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.
After his speech, Duterte proceeded to the site of the proposed drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation center (DARTC) in Purok 17, Barangay Casisang, this city, on a five-hectare land donated by the City Government.
Once finished, 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 training center for medical practitioners, health workers, and volunteers of the taskforce DARTC.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, in a statement, said the rehab center started out with the recent signing of memorandum between the Friends of the Philippines Foundation, a Chinese non-government organization, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Department of Health.
Zubiri said Malaybalay was chosen as the rehab center's base because it is midway from various progressive cities in Mindanao.
“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,” Zubiri said.
The senator added that Malaybalay is also an ideal location for a facility for drug users seeking rehabilitation due to its cold weather.
“It will not be like the other facilities where the patients feel like it’s a detention center. In the proposed site, they will be taught many skills, including gardening and organic farming. It has a sprawling resort-like design,” Zubiri said in an interview.
The facility will also have four basketball courts and an indoor gymnasium, swimming pool, training centers, and the dormitories will be conducive to the patients.
Construction will start after the groundbreaking and is expected to be operational by the last quarter of 2017.
Meanwhile, Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri Jr. said that aside from the rehab center, various Chinese business groups will also invest in more than a dozen projects in the province in the coming days.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 26, 2017.