Church, academe partner for drug crisis intervention

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The Archdiocese of Davao and the University of Southeastern Philippines join forces in fighting the drug menace in the country. The Sagop Kinabuhi (Save Life) Program (SKP) is their joint answer to the ongoing war of the government against drugs. (Photo: USeP)

DAVAO City, Oct. 3, 2016—In response to the widespread drug problem in the country, the Archdiocese of Davao and the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) have forged a partnership through the Sagop Kinabuhi Program (SKP) to help address the ongoing crisis .

SKP is the concrete response of the Church to the mass surrender of drug users and pushers, now known as Voluntary Submission for Reformation (VSR) persons, resulting from the government’s ongoing war on drugs.

The Church through its Archdiocesan Social Action Center (ASAC) and USeP have designed SKP to contribute to the multi-sectoral efforts of reconciling and reunifying VSRs with their respective families and communities.

Celebrating the Word

Using a framework advocated by the Department of Health, SKP wants to address drug dependency and carry out interventions to bring back VSRs’ lost self-confidence, self-respect, and self-worth and to enable them to become productive members of their families and communities once again.

The program also aims to create a functional working relationship with the barangays and parishes through its Gagmay’ng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK) situated within the SKP program site. In the GKK, VSRs celebrate the liturgy of the word in different GKK chapels every week together with members of the community.

Previously identified as a strategic geographical location being a rural-urban area, the Talomo district is the chosen pilot site for the implementation of SKP.

It is worth mentioning that SKP is not intended for Catholics alone but for all drug dependents and drug pushers who want to participate in the program.

Responding to the crisis

Only mild and moderate cases of drug dependency, however, will be catered to by the program. Severe and mentally-ill dependents will be served by other agencies like rehabilitation centers and hospitals.

It can be recalled that before Davao Archbishop Romulo G. Valles’ efforts to revive the program, SKP had already begun in Davao City in 2003, running until 2011.

The clergy of Davao responded to the prelate’s challenge to respond to the ongoing drug crisis by deciding to continue SKP, which was once under the leadership of former ASAC director Fr. Emmanuel Gonzaga, current chaplain to the City Mayor’s Office.

Gonzaga then led the planning to revive SKP together with individuals who were part of the program and partner agencies which helped in financing and running the program.

9 activities

USeP, headed by Dr. Lourdes Generalao, then signified its support for the implementation of SKP in the different parishes in the Archdiocese of Davao.

Presently, there are nine intervention programs and activities slated for the VSRs in Davao City, namely:

  • Social Services (psychosocial interventions, financial and material assistance)
  • Home/Family (parenting seminars/trainings)
  • Educational Services (formal or non-formal, scholarship support)
  • Psychological/Psychiatric Assessment
  • Productivity (skills training and job placement)
  • Health Education (STD/HIV/Hepatitis, lung diseases, malnourishment)
  • Religious/Spirituality (value formation)
  • Dietetics (right food, detoxification, healthy lifestyle)
  • Sports and recreational activities

The launching of SKP and MOA signing with partner agencies is set on Oct. 7, 3:00 p.m. at San Pablo Parish in Matina, Davao City. The group has invited President Rodrigo Duterte as guest of honor. (John Frances C. Fuentes / CBCP News)

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