TO STRENGTHEN the campaign against illegal drugs, both public and private sectors from China and the Philippines donated four new drug rehabilitation centers in Mindanao, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said.

Ubial during the press conference of the DHO, MHO and CHO Summit 2017 Tuesday, April 4, said four new rehabilitation centers will be built to meet the demand of the number of drug surrenderees in Mindanao.

"We have 44 rehabilitation centers nationwide, 13 are government and the rest are private. But the private centers are very small catering to only 1,000 patients," she said.

Ubial said there are very few rehabilitation centers in Mindanao and the additional centers will help address the increasing number of drug surrenderees under the "severe" category.

"There are front line health workers who are trained, severe lang ang naa-admit sa rehab centers. Usually sila yung may withdrawal symptoms (only those severe ones are admitted in rehab centers. Usually they are the ones having withdrawal symptoms)," she said.

Ubial said each center will house 250 patients. It will be built in Davao City, Sarangani Province, Bukidnon, and Agusan del Norte.

"For Davao, it will be in Calinan. Meron din tayo sa Malaybalay sa Bukidnon (We also have one in Malaybalay, Bukidnon)," she said.

She added the centers are donations by public and private sectors from China including a high-end hotel from Manila.

"Yung sa Sarangani and Agusan (The centers in Sarangani and Agusan) are donated by the Chinese government. The one in Malaybalay is from a private sector in China while in Davao is donated by Resorts World Manila," she said.

Ubial added the rehabilitation centers are expected to be completed within this year.

"Hopefully by November or December this year, tapos na sila," she said.

P3 billion for rehab

Ubial said the budget for rehabilitation this year is five times bigger than last year.

"For 2016, it was P600 million. Nag-increase kami (We increased) this year to P3 billion," she said.

Of the P3 billion budget, 50 percent will be allocated to the community-based rehabilitation while the other 50 percent will go to the residential-based rehabilitation.

"The difference between the two is the first only covers those with mild to moderate cases. Sila yung under sa (They are under the) Barangay and Municipal Drug Abuse Council. Yung sa residential naman, dun na yung severe cases (Severe cases are in residential areas)," she said.

The DOH recently built a drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija that caters up to 10,000 patients.