Thirty surrenderers, seven of them women, were cited over the weekend after completing a six-month community-based rehabilitation program of the Caloocan City (Metro Manila) goverment in coordination with city parishes.
The former drug users underwent the rehabilitation program through the Community-Assisted Rehabilitation and Recovery Out-Patient Training System (Carrots) initiated by the Caloocan Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Cadac).
Completion rites were held at Doña Alegria Hall in La Consolacion College in the city.
Wth the theme “Ikaw Ako, Tayo ang Simula ng Pagbabago” Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan said they had taken their cue from an Italian priest, Fr. Luciano Falloni, parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Camarin, North Caloocan, who said the drug problem can be addressed by “healing not by killing.”
Malapitan and Archbishop Pablo David partnered together and gathered doctors and other stakeholders who treated the surrenderers as out-patients and members of the academe and religious teachers who conducted values formation classes.
The city shouldered medicines and food for the surrenderers.
The 30 former drug users who surrendered in September last year were among the 59 surrenderers who voluntarily gave themselves up to the community-based Carrots program to help them get away from substance abuse.
“They are the consistent former drug users who tested negatively from the weekly surprise drug tests,” Noland Sison, Caloocan City Public Information officer, told The Manila Times.
The “graduates” were taught soap and candle-making, made to join field trips and other detox activities such as bonsai therapy for them to have some sense of accomplishment if they saw their pet plants grow,” Sison said.
They were treated in three participating parishes in the city–San Roque Cathedral which is just in front of the Caloocan City Hall, Our Lady of Lourdes in Camarin and Our Lady Luhan in Bagong Barrio.
Sison said Bishop David had promised that all churches will open their doors for Carrots.