IT may be a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs, but the Catholic Church remains a strong advocate and supporter of the government’s rehabilitation and restorative program for drug users who wanted to reform.
The Archdiocese of Manila, through Caritas Manila, on Sunday signed a partnership agreement with Faenda da Esperanca, a Brazil-based Catholic drug rehabilitation farm, to help drug dependents in Manila turn a new leaf.
With the theme: “Every Life has Hope,” Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the Church wanted to show that there is really hope and people with addiction can have a new life.
“Hope for the poor, hope for the sinners, do not give up on them, do not give up on their lives. Every life has hope, every life has opportunity to be transformed, if we only believe,” Tagle said.
The Fazenda da Esperanca, through Fr. Hans Stapel, said it is willing to help in the rehabilitation of the drug surrenderers in the Archdiocese of Manila.
“In our present moment, we are well aware that the Church is still looking for solutions to problems in drug addiction of our countrymen. With this regards, we would like to express that we are willing to help by showing our different way of living and addressing the problems about various addictions of different individuals,” it said.
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.
The partnership agreement between Fazenda and Sanlakbay was signed yesterday following a Holy Mass at the Manila Cathedral.
Sanlakbay is a Church drug rehabilitation and restoration program of Caritas Manila. The program strengthens the preventive phase of the Restorative Justice Ministry of Caritas Manila in partnership with the MASA MASID in the community.
The program intends to help thousands of drug surrenderers by providing values formation, counseling, sports and cultural and livelihood programs towards healing, rehabilitation and restoration.
Caritas Manila, the social development arm of the Archdiocese of Manila, runs the Restorative Justice Prison Ministry intended to the development of the prisoners and the correctional community based on the principles of restorative justice (RJ).
The program conducts paralegal assistance, religious studies, livelihood training, education, advocacy, services for social action, and medical assistance.