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Among the solutions to the illegal drug problem in our country are the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts.
The inauguration of the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) inside Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija signals what we hope will be a continuing and sustained action on the part of the Duterte Administration to address the health/medical aspect of the country’s drug problem.

The government’s “Operation Tokhang” resulted in the surrender of more than 700,000 drug users and pushers. While the number of those involved in the illegal drug use and trade in the country is estimated to be in millions, a 700,000 reduction will be a truly significant accomplishment in solving the problem. We all know that “surrendering” does not necessarily mean being out of the illegal drug trade and use as “Operation Tokhang,” at best, only serve as a warning for those concerned to “mend their ways.”

News reports account for those who “surrendered” being arrested later in buy-bust operations or being killed in legitimate police operations not to mention those killed by “unidentified” vigilantes.

While many sought treatment and rehabilitation, majority of them could no longer be accommodated in what turned out to be insufficient number of both public and private drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities.

The 10,000-bed DATRC in Fort Magsaysay is a significant action of the government to free more drug dependents from their addiction. It is a concrete and essential first move to have a true accomplishment in the war against illegal drugs in the country.

The DATRC in Nueva Ecija was reportedly constructed using funds donated by real estate magnate Huang Rulun, a Chinese billionaire.

Given the extent of the drug problem in our country, similar facilities must be constructed all over the country.

While donations from the private sector should be welcomed, the government should not rely on the same.

It will be a wise investment for the government to fund the construction of drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities. It will be an excellent example of the Filipino people’s money working for the Filipino people.

If the Duterte Administration will score significant wins in its war against corruption in government, it will not be short of money for the construction of drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities. These facilities, including effective drug treatment and rehabilitation programs, will be the most valuable service of the Duterte Administration to the Filipino people. (Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate)