FYI Mr. President Duterte: RCC is a pioneer in drug rehab program

Atty. A. A. Santiago in her article in CBCP News entitled “Catholic Church: Pioneer in Rehabilitation of Drug Dependents”

It is very clear that Malacañang is not aware of what the Catholic Church is doing regarding the government’s campaign against illegal drugs. In his latest public pronouncements, President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the Catholic Church for not doing anything about Drug Rehabilitation (I am just wondering why he is not calling the attention of other religions). The President does know about the Rehabilitation Program for Drug Dependents that the Catholic Church is engaged in. The President is not aware that the Catholic Church is working hand in hand with the Local Government Units, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Philippine National Police.

Santiago outlines the pioneering work of the different dioceses.

1. Diocese of Novaliches 

The Community-based Rehabilitation Program (CBRP) is called AKAP (Abot-Kamay Alang-alang sa Pagbabago” or CARE Program  located at Bahay Pangarap at Barangay San Agustin.

(see: the QC Council’s Resolution Expressing Felicitations and Support to the Community-based Rehabilitation Program of the Diocese of Novaliches)

2. Diocese of Kalookan – Task Force Salubong (October 2016)

Task Force Salubong was discussed by Bishop David and Fr. Ruben Maybuena (Vicar for Pastoral Affairs) while the 3 tracks of Patients Care, Family Care and Community Care were discussed by the priests in charge Fr. Benedict Cervantes, Fr. Mariano Bartolome,Jr. and Fr. Amado Gino, respectively. The Diocese will closely coordinate with the three cities under its jurisdiction—Navotas, Malabon and Caloocan – the Philippine National Police and the DILG.

Bishop David called the community-based Rehabilitation Program of the Diocese for drug surrenderers Task Force Salubong. It was biblically-inspired by the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the Filipino tradition of Easter Salubong. Bishop David stated that addiction is not to be treated as a crime, but as sickness. What the drug dependents need is not condemnation but care. Like the father, in the Prodigal Son, we must also welcome the drug surrenderers who want to become productive members of the community. The pastoral response of the Church is to welcome those who want to lead a drug-free life. We should protect them from drug pushers and traders and those who would like to kill them. We should free them from drug addiction. We should assist their family who is affected by their addiction. (http://www.cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=88469)

Archdiocese of Manila

The Archdiocese of Manila, through Caritas Manila, on Sunday signed a partnership agreement with Fazenda da Esperanca, a Brazil-based Catholic drug rehabilitation farm, to help drug dependents in Manila turn a new leaf… The Fazenda da Esperanca or Farm of Hope is a drug and rehabilitation center established in 2003 based on three main principles: Spirituality, community life and work. It is the first of its kind in the Philippines and in Asia, serving as an extension of Fazenda da Esperança in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Located in Barangay Bangad, Milagros, Masbate, Fazenda allows patients referred to as “boys” and “girls” to find strength and joy from each other by introducing them to the teachings of the Bible, especially the Gospel. They are also taught to value hard work while earning from it.Manila Times

3. Sanlakbay para sa Pagbabagong Buhay Program

The Catholic Church in Manila yesterday launched a drug rehabilitation program to provide parish-based assistance to “surrenderees” in the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign. The program offers drug users from the cities of Pasay, Mandaluyong, Makati, San Juan and Manila and their families spiritual formation, counseling, sports, cultural and livelihood training to help in their healing and restoration.PDI)

A glimpse of Other efforts  by the Catholic Church

Malolos Bulacan – Galilee Home (April 1990)

former-drug-addicts-20170121-1_cab8244bdcdf4d9e9148aa1cbafacb32
Former drug addicts during a bible sharing at Galilee Home

Photo courtesy of Galilee Home

Tulay ng Kabataan (Smokey Mountain)

This indirectly helps in the drug problem by providing support to street children without any link to their family. They are also the easy preys for gangs, most of them become drug addicts and fall victims to all kinds of abuses.

thumbnail_card_tagle_visits_tulay_ng_kabataan
Card. Tagle hugs one of the children in TNK

Photo source: http://www.rcam.org/news/1176–cardinal-tagle-visits-tulay-ng-kabataan-centers

AND MANY OTHER EFFORTS by the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, directly and indirectly benefitting the drug dependents. But because of the Catholic preaching that says: do not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing,  Malacanan might be unaware of the works on the ground.

Atty. Santiago’s final appeal, to HELP.

We must help our brethren who were forced by circumstances to make the wrong choice. Let us not be mere fence sitters. Let us bombard social media that we are at the forefront of giving assistance to the drug dependents, contrary to the false information that the President receives. We should not allow the Catholic Church to be the whipping boy. Sometimes, keeping silent is not a virtue; to keep silent about our good deeds is interpreted that we do not care.

AND SO DEAR PRESIDENT,

Stop bullying the Catholic Church and stop the the rhetorics. [W]hy does the government not question the premises of the Church’s position, articulate the moral principles from which its draws its conclusions and enunciate the constitutional premises on which it relies? The question is raised by Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, law dean and catholic priest.

His well crafted article entitled HELPING DIGONG is quoted in full below.

Because President Digong has repeatedly characterized the bishops, in fact the Roman Catholic Clergy, as obstructionists and coddlers of drug users and peddlers, they are the sector of Philippine society from which he expects no help at all. But whether he accepts it or not, concedes the point or vehemently takes exception, the fact is that the bishops, in ceaselessly protesting extra-judicial killings and sounding the alarm over the rising body count in what is undeniably the bloody campaign against drug lords and their couriers, are helping Digong.

A government remains in power only as long as it is perceived to be “legitimate” and the issue of legitimacy is not settled by presenting a duly signed and authenticated copy of the oath of office. Ferdinand Marcos recited his oath of office before Chief Justice Ramon Aquino, as did Erap Estrada before Chief Justice Andres Narvasa. That did not stop the crowds from massing, paralyzing city life in Manila, winning over the sympathy and the support of the military that promptly declared that it was no longer taking orders from the erstwhile commander-in-chief. Constitutionalists could argue no end about whether or not the incumbents were entitled to office according to the letter of the law, but obviously, discourse on legitimacy belongs to quite a different level.

When all dissent is silenced and all opposition suppressed, it becomes so much the easier to argue the proposition that the government has ceased to be legitimate. Legitimacy, after all is directly related to the freedom of exchange, the freedom to make claims, the freedom to challenge them, and the freedom to vindicate claims. By agitating the national conscience and stirring it from acquiescence to extrajudicial killings and summary executions, the Church is maintaining that critical exchange that makes legitimacy a current issue. I have not heard bishops or priests call for the overthrow of the government. It is not likely that they will ever do do, and it is not, to my mind, correct that they should. But that the government must constantly defend itself — not always convincingly and successfully though — against charges of human rights abuses only means that the citizens of the country deal with it not as brutal fact about which they are helpless — the very tinderbox of rebellion — but as an establishment framed within the discourse of legitimacy.

This dynamic of thrust and parry — it is this that makes collective will-formation relevant. When everything becomes a “given” about which none can do anything, then is government truly endangered, for then there will be no more room and space for that crucial exchange that allows for a common definition of the situation and a consensus on a meaningful response. Then, it will be that government must ceaselessly woe the military, pamper it, keep it on a short leash, and unleash it against all foes.

Digong is also helping the Church, rousing it, if not too gently, from the stupor of its self-satisfaction to watchfulness for its deportment and conduct as prophetic in word and in deed. The President has no right demanding of the Church that it be perfect. Not even God demands that. But he has a right to demand of the Church that it be constantly self-critical and to wrestle with the obstacles to its own credibility. For some time, some bishops thought that maintaining a politically calculated silence was safeguarding its credibility. That is a politician’s gambit. It is not the way a prophet remains God’s mouthpiece. The prophet is one who will speak, even if in consequence of his diatribes, woes and imprecations he is thrown into cisterns, shooed off the land and dealt savage blows. That is credibility for the Church.

And I am proud of the fact that the Catholic Church has not allowed its voice to be muffled — “Altar of Secrets” and other aspersions notwithstanding. And rather than engage the Church in a rhetoric of slur and insult, it will be well for President Digong and his government to demand of the Church proof of its claims, to challenge the warrants both from constitutional theory as well as from moral theory that it uses, to introduce qualifiers and to build on rebuttals. This is the way of rationality. It is also the way by which legitimacy is decided. Rather than attacking the persons of the likes of Villegas, Bacani, Cruz et al., why does the government not question the premises of the Church’s position, articulate the moral principles from which its draws its conclusions and enunciate the constitutional premises on which it relies? When this happens the whole nation can then be engaged in that fruitful exchange by which alone we can make decisions that do not arise from the embarrassment of those who are shamed, nor the submission of those threatened and bullied but that rational consensus that is synonymous with legitimacy!

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