Updated 03:29 AM PHT Wed, December 21, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The overwhelming number of drug offenders turning themselves in is a big challenge to the war on drugs.
So far, the number of drug surenderees in the country is at around 900,000 — far beyond what the 44 accredited drug rehab centers nationwide can handle.
Only 15 of the facilities are government-owned and can only serve about 5,000 in-patients.
"Kaya nga napakarami eh napakarami nila saka kami nahirapan na rin sa congestion," Interior Secretary Mike Sueno said on Tuesday.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said only a percent of the total drug surenderees or 9,000 patients should be confined in rehab centers.
She admitted the current facilities can't take all of them in.
"It is always very challenging like to find out that you budgeted for one percent and then you get about five to ten percent of the population," she said.
Officials are hoping more donations will come from the private sector.
That's why Alliance Global, owned by tycoon Andrew Tan, is taking the lead as it offers to build a rehabilitation center.
It will be built inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City — the headquarters of the Metro Manila police force — and will serve around 500 patients.
The facility will have a physical therapy center, out-patient department building, wards, swimming pool, basketball court, and gymnasium.
Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco said President Rodrigo Duterte also wants to rehabilitate drug suspects and not only neutralize them.
Evasco even gave a message to the critics of the war on drugs: "This is a challenge to one and all — stop criticizing. Instead, participate in this program to rehabilitate our own people."
The government plans to build four more major rehabilitation centers nationwide — two in Luzon and one each in the Visayas and Mindanao. It also wants to provide treatment facilities in each province.