MANILA -- Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday said the PHP185 billion mega-drug rehabilitation facility in Nueva Ecija can still be put to “optimum use” and become a police training academy.

Sotto made this remark after former Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman Dionisio Santiago said that construction o the drug rehab facility is “impractical” and had been a “mistake.”

President Rodrigo Duterte asked Santiago to resign after making the comment.

“In line with the issue regarding the mega drug rehab center, I still believe that the facility can be put to optimum use,” Sotto said in a press statement.

Sotto pointed out that aside from being just a drug rehab facility, it can also be utilized as the country’s mega drug enforcement academy.

He said that the drug rehab facility can be an “extension” of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Academy.

“PDEA can oversee it, as it can be made as an extension of the present PDEA academy. With that size, we could produce a thousand agents per batch,” Sotto said.

Moreover, Sotto said that alongside PDEA, other agencies such as the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, Philippine National Police, and National Bureau of Investigation can avail of the drug interdiction training program.

He stressed that the extension of the PDEA Academy can be like the international law enforcement academy (ILE) in Bangkok.

“Infrastructure development on land, especially as a gift, is always acknowledged, an Asian cultural trait,” the senator said.

Sotto also suggested that President Rodrigo Duterte may also seek the assistance of guest instructors from China’s police academy, US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Australian police academy and others to make it a “world-class” training facility. (PNA)