P7.2M drug rehab center in Ligao City to rise soon
By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY --- Civil works would start in July this year for the construction of a P7.2M drug rehabilitation center in Barangay Tula-tula, Ligao City, according to Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara. Bichara in an interview Tuesday said the project had been bid out soon after funds were approved and made available by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. He said, “the site development plan is ready and it is now scheduled for bidding while the construction would start July and expected to be finished by the end of August and would be operational by the end of the year.” Sitting on a 1-hectare lot the center would be a two-story structure consisting of at least ten 40-foot aluminum containers, Bichara said. Aside from the center, a separate administrative and medical building would also be built within the compound. Under the project, the construction work would cost P5M for the rehab center while another P2.2M would be spent for the administrative and medical buildings. Bichara said funds were sourced from the provincial government’s general funds. Provincial architects and engineers have designed the center as a “dormitory type” that could accommodate 150 drug dependent patients. “As a standard practice, the rehab center could only accommodate patients with a severe drug problem,” Bichara said. The one-hectare center site is located at a compound owned by the provincial government and is presently serving as the headquarter of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC). “With the presence of the PNP there, well, I don’t see any problem with the security of the center,” Bichara claimed. The governor said that aside from the center, he plans to put up within an adjacent lot a correctional facility for youth offenders to be manned by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Asked who would manage the drug rehab-center, Bichara said it would be a collaborative effort of the Departments of Health, Social Welfare, PNP, and the provincial government. Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) chair, during the 2nd quarter council meeting on Tuesday took note of the PNP-PDEA illegal drug campaign where 83,946 drug personalities either have surrendered or were arrested during police buy-bust operations. PNP report indicated that of the total number, 77,338 or 92 percent were users while 6,611 or 8 percent were pushers. At least 97 persons who reportedly resisted arrest and fought police operative were killed in Bicol. Police illegal drugs operatives in Bicol were able to seize 375.5 kilograms of Hydro Meth (Shabu) with an estimated street value of P1.8B, 12.1 kilograms of Cocaine worth P46M and 7.1 kilos of Marijuana worth P539,000. The Department of Health (DOH) reported that the agency has validated and assessed 38,234 drug users where 4,332 belong to the low-risk category, 4,301 are considered mild, 2,561 are moderate, while 557 belong to the severe category. The report indicated that of the severe category 179 drug dependent were referred to undergo rehab treatment.