Pope Francis approves of a church-based drug rehabilitation program said Card Tagle in his homily during Mass on Oct 21.
Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in his homily during Mass to mark the first anniversary of Sanlakbay program for drug surrenders and recovering addicts at the San Sebastian Church recalled his recent meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. He said the pope was pleased to know about the Sanlakbay program in his archdiocese and wanted parish-based drug rehabilitation centres to continue in Philippines.
Sanlakbay is a rehabilitation program based on the parish community that encourages drug addicts to surrender, tackle rehabilitation and give themselves another chance to start a new life.
It is a faith-based approach geared towards the healing and restoration of drug dependents. The program includes arts and sports activities and is present in various Manila parishes to reach out to more people. Earlier, on January 8, Tagle partnered with an international drug rehabilitation farm to boost the archdiocese’s program.
Amid the government’s violent crackdown on illegal drugs, the initiative has been providing counseling, spiritual and values formation and even livelihood opportunities for former drug addicts.
The same program has also been ongoing in other dioceses across the country in coordination with local government units, the police and other concerned government agencies. At least 132 former drug dependents from at least 12 parishes in the Archdiocese of Manila had so far completed the six-month program.
Earlier he had exhorted all priests and Catholics to renew their commitment to the Sanlakbay Drug Rehabilitation Program.
During the past few months of Duterte’s administration some 8,000 suspected drug users or drug dealers have lost their lives during security operations. The police confirmed the killing of over 3,500 people, insisting on having acted in self-defense. Among them there was also a 17-year-old boy, whose death last August 17, sparked outrage and anger across the nation.
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, have mentioned at least 12,000 deaths connected to the drug war since July 2016, including those classified by police as “deaths under investigation.”(CBCP)