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DOH announces soft opening of mega rehab center

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 7, 2016 file photo, Filipino men place their hands over their heads as they are rounded up during a police operation as part of the continuing "War on Drugs" campaign of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, Philippines. In just 100 days in office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has stirred a hornet's nest by picking a fight with Barack Obama, the United Nations, the European Union and others who have criticized his brutal crackdown against drugs that has left more than 3,600 suspects dead. AP/Aaron Favila, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday announced the soft opening of the mega drug rehabilitation center inside the military camp at Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said the facility has been partially finished since Monday.

About 1,000 personnel from the DOH are currently having a dry run on how to manage the patients that will be referred to the new rehabilitation center on November, Ubial said.

"The construction of this mega rehab center began soon after my visit to Beijing in September this year wherein we signed a deed of donation with our very generous donor, a businessman from China, Mr. Huang Rulun," Ubial said in a televised press briefing.

READ: Chinese drug rehab center donor was once a Binondo trader in 1986

The drug rehabilitation center is expected to be fully functional by November. The 100,000-square meter facility has a capacity of 10,000 patients.

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Ubial said that 2,500 beds have been turned over last Monday while the remaining 7,500 beds will be delivered by November 16.

"Six weeks after the foundation were laid, the building structures gradually took shape and now 50 percent of the facility has been constructed," Ubial said.

The Health secretary further noted that the right wing of the building can accommodate almost 1,000 patients. The offices of the facility are also ready to be furnished.

Earlier this year, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella revealed that the government is eyeing to build a drug rehabilitation facility at Fort Magsaysay.

Abella said that the government is undertaking "very admirable" efforts to address the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

"The government is very, very aware and it's very concerned that drugs are not just a national security issue but also a public health issue," Abella said.

NewsLab Special: High Time: The drug problem through a new lens

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