Church to Catholic schools: Help drug users

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Archbishop of Davao Romulo G. Valles talks to drug users who want to become productive citizens of the country through the Sagop Kinabuhi (Save Lives) Program. (Photo: ASAC Davao)

DAVAO City, Dec. 13, 2016 — The local church of Davao has tapped the network of Catholic schools in Davao Region to join the fight against drug use.

In a meeting with the Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS), a network of schools, Archbishop of Davao Romulo G. Valles asked the heads of different schools to be one with the Archdiocese of Davao in its fight against drugs by coming out with their own anti-drug programs.

The archbishop said in a Nov. 25 meeting at Archbishop’s Residence that the local church should have a unified voice though the different schools will be running their own programs to fulfill their role in the war against drugs.

Sagop Kinabuhi Program

Valles also acknowledged the initiatives of different Catholic schools in coming up with their own programs to help drug users become productive citizens of the country while encouraging those with no programs yet to join initiatives catering to drug users. The said programs are in partnership with the different barangays in this city.

The archbishop is currently leading the diocesan initiative of helping drug users together with different partners through the Sagop Kinabuhi Program (SKP) 2, which aims to reach out to drug users.

Funded by the University of Southeastern Philippines, the SKP 2 program seeks to help drug users who want to become productive citizens of the country by first entering into Voluntary Submission for Reformation (VSR).

The program covers the parishes under the Talomo District in this city, where residents from different barangays have entered VSR. The Philippine National Police in Davao City and volunteers of the Archdiocesan Social Action Center (ASAC) Davao who spearhead SKP 2 have interviewed and profiled drug users during assessments made on Oct. 15 and Nov. 24.

3-year program

Sr. Ma. Marissa Arado, TDM, said the program was initiated in 2000 to cater to the growing issue of Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL). Presently, Sagop Kinabuhi Program is being run to support the government’s battle against drugs.

She said there are 74 people who submitted themselves for reformation during the first assessment on Oct. 15 and 43 during the second assessment on Nov. 24. They are targeting to enroll 130 individuals into three-year program as they also plan to implement the program at the barangay level.

“So far, we are having a difficulty in gathering the number of individuals who will submit themselves for reformation. Maybe because they are afraid for their lives, and we still have to explain more about the program,” said Arado.

“We are looking for the possibility of asking the barangay captains to explain and campaign more for the inception of this program [at] the barangay level,” she added.

Valles thanked the different partners of SKP 2 for their support, expressing optimism in the Church and the academe’s fight against drugs. (John Frances C. Fuentes / CBCP News)

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