The ranking members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) have been silent for a long time about President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.
Their silence is of course very much welcomed as it does not add up to more misunderstanding and disharmony between the church and the state.
It is, therefore, very encouraging and reassuring that while the church has kept their silence on Duterte’s relentless war on drugs, it has also understood the magnitude of the drug problem in the country that has already included government officials and other civil servants.
Understanding the enormity of the drug problem the country is having is one thing and appreciating the work government is doing in fighting and controlling it is another for it makes people and organization think how they could contribute to the efforts done.
It is in this light that the leaders of CBCP should be commended for putting their plan under wraps or without fanfare until now when they finally announced their launching of an anti-illegal drugs program aimed to rehabilitate drug addicts.
The program called, “Sanlakbay para sa Pagbabagong Buhay,” entails that parishes in the archdiocese set up treatment centers.
This worthy endeavor by the church definitely complements the planned construction of rehab centers by government in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, with one being built in Nueva Ecija courtesy of a Chinese philanthropist.
Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said that the program will be administered by the Restorative Justice Ministry which aims to provide psycho-spiritual support to drug dependents.
Restorative Justice Ministry head Fr. Roberto de la Cruz, said: “This is our reaction to what is happening to our country now. Are we not going to do anything and let them die? Let us help them.”
“Now that they’ve surrendered to the government, our task is to ask them to surrender themselves fully to God because that’s when transformation will start,” he said.
The individuals enrolled in the rehabilitation program will undergo spiritual formation, counseling, livelihood projects, skills formation training, arts and cultural program, and sports activities.
Comforting words, indeed, and much to hope and thank for.