Chinese tycoon builds Philippines rehab centers

By Huang Ge Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/16 23:23:40

Intl donors aiding country’s war on drugs

Philippine police look for evidence at a dwelling where members of a suspected drug syndicate were killed in July. Photo: CFP

Philippine police look for evidence at a dwelling where members of a suspected drug syndicate were killed in July. Photo: CFP

In support of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown on drugs, many donors have come forward, including Chinese people.

"My company is constructing the first of two new large drug rehabilitation facilities in the country," Huang Rulun, Chinese philanthropist and chairman of Beijing-based Century Golden Resources Investment Group Co, told the Global Times in an interview on Saturday.

"On July 27, President Duterte told me that the Philippines is now vigorously pursuing drug rehabilitation, and it is in urgent need of providing a large number of rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. Since the previous government did not include this in the national budget for this year, he hoped to get my support," noted Huang.

"I agreed to help construct 100,000 square meters of drug rehabilitation facilities that can treat up to 20,000 people," he said.

"Our company is currently working north of Manila to construct the first of two new large drug rehabilitation facilities. This one can accommodate about 10,000 people," Huang noted.

"We intend to export more than 200 containers filled with construction materials from China," he said, adding that about 90 containers have been sent to the Philippines so far.

The Philippines on Wednesday announced plans to open the new facility in November, Reuters reported.

Construction of the second facility is scheduled to begin in early 2017 after Spring Festival, according to Huang.

Duterte launched a war on drugs when he took office on June 30. CNN reported in September that Duterte wants six more months to "put everything in order" regarding his country's drug problems.

There are currently only 40 drug rehabilitation agencies in the Philippines, domestic news site reported in September.

The Philippine government plans to build four more mega treatment and rehabilitation facilities elsewhere in the country and many donors, including Chinese people, have come forward, Reuters reported Wednesday.

"Drugs have been a public disaster. They harm people's health and also disrupt social order. So all countries, whether socialist or capitalist, are against drugs," Huang said. "President Duterte once told me that Sino-Philippine relations must be well maintained and must be peaceful. I said I would help construct the drug rehabilitation facilities and also schools in the Philippines in the hope that both countries can become friendly neighbors."

Q&A with Huang Rulun

Huang Rulun

Huang Rulun

GT: In the 1980s, you went to the Philippines to develop business there. What do you think of the business environment of the country, and what changes have there been in recent years?

Huang: The Philippines thrived in the 1960s. It is a country with more than 7,000 islands and is rich in mineral and petroleum resources, as well as seafood and agriculture products. However, corruption gradually took root in the country and successive governments failed to make proper use of these resources, so the country fell into poverty.

The country's current living standards are as good as in Thailand and Vietnam. Of course, Chinese people in the country have played a vital role in helping promote its economic growth.

GT: What are you doing to promote the economic and trade relations between China and the Philippines?

Huang: Our company plans to build an international traveling island that covers an area of 3,333 hectares in the Philippines, with the aim of attracting tourists from China and all over the world and to promote the development of local tourism. The Philippines has a wealth of tourism resources such as lovely beaches, good harbors and fresh air.

In addition, we are scheduled to buy 2,000 hectares of land in the Philippines to build an industrial park, and we will bring in some Chinese steel mills, power plants and cement factories, which are all in short supply in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, in a bid to respond to the call of President Xi Jinping's "One Belt and One Road" initiative to go global, we will actively promote Chinese advanced technology in the Philippines to fill the country's technology gap and boost its economic development.

GT: President Duterte will pay a visit to China on Tuesday. What are your expectations for the economic and trade relationship between two countries?

Huang: The Philippines is located in a strategic position in China's "One Belt and One Road" initiative, and also in a core area in the Pacific Ocean. The economic and trade cooperation between China and the Philippines is facing great historic opportunities. If China could firmly seize the friendship of the Philippines and the Philippines could also treat us as friendly neighbors, Chinese entrepreneurs could beef up cooperation with the Philippines via the "Belt and Road" initiative.


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