THE recent inauguration of the Center Against Illegal Drugs (Caid) by the Ateneo de Davao University (Addu) to complement efforts of the Archdiocese of Davao and the Davao City Government in the “war against evil” is a whiff of fresh air.
Through the months that the Duterte Administration has waged an all-out war against drugs, and have been exposing the politicians and police officials who have links to this trade, the clergy has opted to take a confrontational stance, satisfied with spewing out criticisms, but never offering a solution.
The Center along Zamora Street (the street at the junction of the September 4 Roxas Night Market bombing happened) has four key programs: Healing and Recovery for Drug Surrenderees (Herds), Drug Hotline and Referral Helpline, Mindanao Drug Trade Research, and Human Rights Training and Rights-based Policing and Addu In-House Community Awareness.
Davao City Archbishop Romulo Valle welcomed this as a “sure sign of hope and action.”
While Addu President Joel Tabora S.J. said the Caid was established as their part in their “stand for life.” While they are against the deaths in the all-out war, they also recognize that the war on drugs is a very complex fight that the Church and the academe have roles to play in.
The Caid has seven licensed psychiatric nurses will be manning the Caid hotline/helpline to answer questions on drug addiction and also refer drug reformists to rehabilitation centers.
The hotline/helpline numbers are (082) 298-6728, (082) 298-6729, 09434944211 (Sun), 09121968535 (Smart) and 09563895131 (Globe).
The drug problem is indeed very complex, but the longer we tarry and confront each other on what the solutions should be, the more deeply rooted the problem will become. At stake are the lives of the young, who because the elders prefer to argue rather than act, will soon find access to the illegal drugs, and enjoy the temporary high it gives... until addiction takes over, and as President Rodrigo Duterte would describe it, the drug will fry the brain.
It's sad that many in the clergy would rather be hecklers than taking the lead role in ensuring that people in the communities, their parishes, do not fall into the drug trap.
In November 2016, in the gathering of more than 50 experts from around the world, including scientists, judges, politicians and religious organized in response to the pope's call made in June to address the illegal drugs problem, Pope Francis described illegal drugs as the “new form of slavery.”
“When one looks for the networks to fight drugs one is in front of a mafia, because those who want to destroy this slavery are killed,” he was quoted as saying, adding that illegal drugs is a complex problem because of the amount and reach of the production and distribution networks of the syndicates.
“The integral human formation is the priority. It gives people the possibility of having instruments for discerning, with which to reject the different [drug] offers and help others,” Pope Francis was further quoted.
The Pope understands and proposes a solution, we're just fortunate that our clergy has decided to answer the Pope's call. But that cannot be said of many others, we can't help but wonder why.