In line with its recently-launched Community-Based Drug Rehabiliataion Program, the Diocese of Novaliches has taken the initiative of bringing together the stakeholders under its jurisdiction, as well as in neighboring communities, into a fora meant to define concrete, humane measures for the Philippine Government’s Nationwide war against illegal drugs.
The fora, entiled “Summit Meeting On Church Response To The War On Drugs”, will be held in two separate occasions and venues designed to cater to the Quezon City and the Caloocan City areas of the Diocese, respectively on September 9, 2016 at the Palace of the Rock, St. Peter Parish Shrine of Leaders along Commonwealth Ave, Capitol Estates, Q.C. and on September 17, 2016 at the Sto. Nino De Congreso Parish along Congressional Road, Bagumbong, C.C.
According to Diocese of Novaliches Vicar General for Pastoral Affairs Rev. Fr. Antonio E. Labiao, Jr., during an emergency meeting last August 31, 2016 held at the Caritas Novaliches Office in Fairview Park, Q.C. with the Diocesan Pastoral Team, comprised of Priest Directors and Religious and Lay Coordinators of the different Commissions and Ministries of the Diocese, the Summit Meeting On Church Response To The War On Drugs is the Diocese’s urgent answer to the ongoing extrajudicial killings happening in the Country.
Fr. Labiao said that priests of the Diocese have raised their concern on what the Diocese will do to the “Drug War” during the monthly Clergy Meeting held last July. He said this was then elevated to the monthly Presbyteral Meeting last August 25 from which they decided to come out with a Fora and a Rehabilitation Center in tie-up with the respective City Governments under its wing. Prior to these, the Diocese has decided to launch a Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program alongside with the Ugnayang Barangay At mga Simbahan (UBAS) initiatives of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Luciano Ariel Felloni and Barangay 174 Chairman Enrique Bunag for a “Surrendering Day” of users and pushers of illegal drugs.
The Diocese, Fr. Labiao stressed, has provided its Bahay Pangarap property in Barangay San Agustin as Rehabilitation Center for use of the Q.C. Government through Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte. The property was already checked by the QC Government’s officials who found it to be conducive for such an undertaking. A similar effort for the C.C. Area of the Diocese will be undertaken as well. In fact, a school building within the St. Joseph Parish of Barracks in Tala, Camarin will be setup as a Rehabilitation Center also.
During the said August 31 meeting, the Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D. emphasized that it is important “to have concrete actions to address the drug problems of the Country” and that the Diocese’s Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Program will be “a good program to help our afflicted parishioners”.
The Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Program will be a joint partnership of the Diocese of Novaliches with QC and CC Governments, Philippine National Police, Local Government Units (LGUs), Department of Health, and Civic Organizations which will treat surrenderers as “out patients” in need of healing from drug abuse and dependency and provides them the privilege to come home to their families during the process. The parishes in the Diocese are mandated to create a Community Rehabilitation Network (CRN) Team–composed of the Ministries of Family and Life, Faith and Formation, Social Action, Public Affairs, Basic Ecclesial Communities, Restorative Justice, Pastoral Care for Children and Vulnerable Adults, Youth, Catechetical, and Social Communication–who will accompany the surrenderer to the Barangay–as part of its UBAS agreement–for proper documentation and assessment.
Coined as AKAP or Abot-Kamay Alang-alang sa Pagbabago, the Diocesan Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Program enables the Out Patients to undergo Drug Patient’s Care, Family Care, and Community Care after being “processed” by the Barangay through the Department Of Health. The process under the DOH includes a six-month Detoxification Program for those assessed to have mild drug dependency. The entire Drug Rehab Program is expected to run a maximum of 18 months and aims to bring back the Out Patients into their normal functioning as persons, parishioners, and members of the community.
“What’s beautiful here is that it becomes clear that our enemy is not each other but drugs,” said Fr. Luciano during the Surrendering Day Ceremonies, especially after receiving assurance with the local police in his community.
The Summit Meeting On Church Response To The War On Drugs puts together the stakeholders from the different communities and sectors under the Diocese of Novaliches to pledge their commitment and cooperation to the Diocesan Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Program.
For the QC Area Summit, the Head of the Association of Consecrated Life of Novaliches Diocese (ACLIND) Sis. Zenaida C. Cabrera, SHE; the President of the Council of the Laity of Novaliches (CLaN); Pastor Roger Gutierrez, a representative from the Inter-Faith Religion; a representative from the Academe; Rev. Fr. Ramon Elloraga of the Diocese of Cubao; Mr. Roy Calleja of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen & Professionals (BCBP); representatives from Civic Groups; QC Districts 2, 3, 5, & 6 Representatives; and representatives from the Liga Ng Barangay are expected to be present to
provide their respective concrete responses to the ongoing war on drugs.
Aside from the messages that will be delivered by each sector and community, the Summit will also be an opportunity for the QC Police District through its Director Guilermo Eleazar to present a Situationer on Illegal Drugs in Quezon City. Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, on the other hand, will be presenting the different Rehabilitation Centers under her locality while Fr. Labiao will be discussing the Community Rehab Program of the Diocese.
Highlight of the said Summit will be the Keynote Message of the Bishop Tobias and the Message of Support of the Department of Interior and Local Government. The Diocese hopes to get a Message of Support from the Office of the President for the said activity. Also part of the program will be the Welcome Remarks of St. Peter Parish Shrine of Leaders Rector and Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Marlou Lemaire. The CC Area Summit will have the same program format although with different speakers coming from the CC Area. (~Minnie De Luna)