A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing between the Church and local government units for the campaign against illegal drugs highlighted the launching of the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program (CBRP) entitled Abot Kamay Alang-alang sa Pagbabago (AKAP) of the Vicariate of the Holy Spirit held in San Jose, Ang Tagapagtanggol Parish in Doña Juana Homes, Quezon City last December 4, 2017.
Spearheaded by the Diocesan Pastoral Office through the auspices of its Vicar General Rev. Fr. Antonio R. Labiao, Jr., the event brought together Novaliches Bishop Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD; Quezon City vice mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte in her capacity as chair of the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC); P/Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, District Director of the Quezon City Police Department (QCPD), and the parish priests of Holy Spirit to solidify the campaign against illegal drugs.
“Because of our unity, we can work together as one towards a single goal,” said Vice Mayor Belmonte of the MOA Signing.
She shared that the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) has long been established and did not undergo any changes. She believes that it will now be successful due to the unity of the community in partcipating out of concern for the campaign against illegal drugs.
Bishop Antonio R. Tobias, representing the local church of Novaliches, echoed the lady solon’s sentiment on unity and said that being Filipinos, what we do–good or bad–affects us all.
“Whatever you do to your neighbor, you do as well to Jesus because we are all brothers and sisters,” he said in Filipino.
Fr. Arnel Percival “Percy” P. Tayem, parish priest of San Jose, Ang Tagapagtanggol Parish, and Felicito A. Valmocina, barangay Holy Spirit chairman, expressed their unstinted support to the campaign and to uphold the MOA objectives as proponents for the community.
“Be assured that we will put to heart, mind, action, and value this campaign against illegal drugs,” Chairman Valmocina declared in Filipino.
“Let us be united and hopefully we become the center of the Peace and Kingdom of God,” shared Fr. Percy in the local tongue.
On the other hand, Col. Eleazar emphasized that what they have just signed is more than a piece of document. He said it signifies their acceptance out of cooperation and solidarity to an approach against illegal drugs, which entails helping out drug dependents to recover so that they can have the opportunity to return to their community. He assured that the police will be one in enforcing a humane means of addressing the issue for the good of the community.
Others present during the MOA signing and CBDRP-AKAP launch is Fr. Antonio E. Labiao, Jr, the Diocese of Novaliches’ vicar general for pastoral affairs, who gave an overview of the diocese’s AKAP and urged everyone to support it. He said the title of the CBRP was coined to denote that the Diocese is embracing those who have been inflicted by drugs, their families, and their community. He added that, in this process, the drug dependent can start anew and become part of society once more.
Lastly, a former drug dependent from Barangay Holy Spirit shared his own journey and concluded, “difficult but change is possible.” (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)