OPINION: Church could help Manila’s anti-drug campaign

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What seems to be the indicator of success for the intensive [Philippine] government campaign against drugs is the body count – nearly 3,000 dead (60 per cent by vigilantes), and more than half a million who have “surrendered” among the country’s estimated three million drug users and pushers.

Almost all those killed are from the tsinelas crowd, prompting some to label the drug campaign as a war against the poor. Also, there is a sore lack of drug rehabilitation facilities. The government plans to build them, but meanwhile those who surrendered are left to their own devices. Invariably they return to their drug habits and some have been killed by police or vigilantes.

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Perhaps the better measure of success should be the number of addicts rehabilitated and returned to society as useful and productive citizens.

This is where churches can play a big role. They should graduate from being mere critics to doing something concretely to help solve the pandemic drug problem in a significant way.

They have both the material and manpower resources for this. The Catholic Church, for example, has about everything to conduct a veritable drug rehabilitation programme.

A holistic programme that addresses all aspects – medical, psychological, psychiatric, spiritual, motivational, educational, livelihood, etc is needed.

Samuel Yap

Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

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