By Roy Mabasa
The Chinese Embassy in Manila has led the turnover of a Chinese government-financed drug treatment and rehabilitation center in Agusan del Sur as part of its commitment to help its “friendly neighbor,” the Philippines.
Hon. Jin Yuan, Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines (RIO LEONELLE DELUVIO / MANILA BULLETIN)
In a statement, the Chinese Embassy said the 6,750-square-meter facility on a three-hectare lot is the second Chinese government-aided drug rehabilitation center in the Philippines to support the Philippine government's anti-drug campaign and improve the health of its people.
"It is a strong demonstration that the Chinese government will accomplish every commitment to help the Philippines, our friendly neighbor," Chinese embassy's Economic and Commercial Counselor Jin Yuan said during the rites on Monday.
The 150-bed newly inaugurated drug rehabilitation center is built with an administration and clinic building, a multi-purpose covered court, dormitory buildings, and visitors' house in the center. The entire project was undertaken by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).
Broke ground in February 2018, the rehabilitation center was initially considered for completion within 21 months but was shortened to only over a year.
"Thanks to the cooperation between the two countries and the hard-work of Chinese, local workers, the term shortened to nearly 13 months," said Liu Wei, General Manager of CSCEC Philippine branch.
Liu added that their construction firm also hired more than 400 local workers and administrative staff to ensure that residents around the province benefit from the construction of the project, while the number of Chinese employees is only 35.
Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-An represented the Philippine government in the inauguration and turnover ceremony.
"This is the first drug rehab center in Agusan del Sur province. Thank for the support from the Chinese government and we are really happy about this project," Tong-An said.
Agusan del Sur Gov. Edward Plaza said this drug rehabilitation center gives the local government a chance to solve the drug problem and provide better help to the drug dependents not only in his province but also to the adjacent areas, as well.
"We would like to cooperate with our counterparts in DOH to address this issue," he said.