Duterte rebuffs proposal from European nation on drug clinics
MANILA, Philippines – A European country recommended a type of treatment for drug addiction that was so ill-received by President Rodrigo Duterte that he ranted about it in one of his official events.
"The European Union itself is not offering that particular therapy program. However, there was a European nation that apparently offered technical assistance along that line, which we have not taken up," said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella on Tuesday, March 28.
He refused to identify the European country that made the suggestion.
Speaking at a Palace news briefing, he was clarifying Duterte's earlier statements about a supposed treatment being done in some European countries where drug addicts are treated with the same drugs they are dependent on.
"These sons of bitches, they want us to build clinics, then that we should, instead of arresting or putting them in prison like in other countries, you go there and if you want shabu, they will inject you or give you shabu, then you go out, then if you want marijuana there’s a place there," said an indignant Duterte last Friday, March 24, at an event with Filipino-Chinese business groups.
Duterte called these clinics a "government-sponsored idiotic exercise."
It is likely the proposal pertained to clinics where addicts are given the drugs they are dependent on in a supervised manner to help slowly wean them off the drug.
In Switzerland, for instance, there are heroin clinics where heroin addicts are given daily heroin injections as part of a treatment program.
According to TIME, a trial of the program shows it can reduce the number of drug use on the streets and bring down crime among clinic patients.
Countries like Britain, formerly an EU member, are considering government-funding for such clinics.
In recent days, the suggestion of the mystery European country was not all Duterte ranted about in connection with the EU.
After the European Parliament called on the Philippine Congress to stop efforts to reinstate the death penalty and on the government to release Senator Leila de Lima, Duterte blasted the EU for interfering in Philippine affairs.
He also pointed to the deaths of millions during World War I and II in Europe to prove Europe is not blameless for the deaths of innocents.
"It’s easy to criticize, it’s easy to point out mistakes. My God, you trace your history. You are also, what, your hands with blood. Why are you suggesting a stupid solution?" he said on Friday.
In a rant during a March 23 press conference, he also said he would gladly hang members of the European Parliament for "interfering" with the determination of Southeast Asian nations to implement the death penalty.
"If I have the preference, I’ll hang all of you," he said.
Despite these strong words from the President, Abella said the Philippines' ties with the European Union remain strong.
"The relationship between the European Union and the Philippines is quite excellent," he said.
He described the EU Parliament as a body "creating its own brand of noise." – Rappler.com