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Camps to house addicts

Pending the establishment of bigger rehabilitation centers across the country, President Duterte is planning to put “recalcitrant” drug dependents in “barracks” with high-wired fences inside the military camps.

With the soaring number of drug suspects surrendering to authorities, the President said the military has large reservations to temporarily accommodate wayward drug dependents for their own protection and the safety of the public.

“We cannot build a nation by killing people over the bodies of your fellow citizens but I’ll have to control. So ‘yung sira na, you have to check with them if they are talagang ma-resuscitate pa, ika nga. Lagay na lang natin sa diyan,” the President said during an assembly with local government units in Malacañang last Wednesday night.

“‘Yung recalcitrants or those guys na ayaw talagang magpakulong or are no longer of service to humanity because they are – padala na lang natin doon,” he added.

The President said the “compulsory confinement” of drug dependents was similar to the confinement of insane persons.

“We don’t need any legal basis. The legal basis is we take him in for his own protection. That’s why we are allowed to arrest insane people for compulsory confinement. Why? It is to protect him from harm and to protect the public,” he said.

More than 114,000 drug suspects have surrendered to the police since July 1 under the government’s campaign to eliminate illegal drug trade in the country. More than 2,700 persons have been arrested for alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

Duterte explained that the putting drug dependents in the military camps is a “stopgap measure” given the “space” constraints in local communities.

He said these drug dependents would have to “move out” of the military camps as soon as the drug rehabilitation centers are established all over the country. These rehabilitation facilities, the President admitted, would take “time and money.”

The President also rejected perceptions that he was killing drug suspects, saying he actually built a drug rehabilitation center when he was mayor of Davao City. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)