Paralyzed priest leads fight vs. drugs? in Tagbilaran

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TAGBILARAN City, Bohol, March 26, 2015 – A priest who lost his ability to walk is leading a group of concerned citizens in Tagbilaran curb drug abuse in the city through educating the youth.

The organization Tindogi Tagbilara is set to conduct drug awareness campaigns in schools for students and youth when classes resume in June, revealed Fr. Fernando “Dodong” Po, the group’s convenor.

Fr. Fernando “Dodong” Po, himself afflicted, intercedes for the healing of every sick person he anoints at the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral Parish in Tagbilaran City on Feb. 11, World Day for the Sick. (Photo: Oliver Samson)

They will fight drugs with a module that will expose the evils of drug use to the young, the user, the family, and society.

His group refuses to let more young people fall victims to drugs, the priest said in a recent interview with CBCPNews.

Drug-related violence

The mounting drug addiction in the city has been alarming parents and peace-loving locals, he revealed.

Po shared a case where a child warned his parents he would shoot them in the head if they tell the authorities about his addiction.

Nestor M. Pestelos, a community development worker based in Bohol and a columnist for a local publication, said another drug addict sexually assaulted his own mother.

In 2014, Tagbilaran and the towns of Bohol were rocked by a spate of drug-related violence.

According to Po, a number of persons were shot dead in the streets in
broad daylight.

Parents abroad

It saddens him and his fellow peace advocates that “women are selling the prohibited drugs,” the priest said.

They peddle it even to elementary and high students, Po noted.

The priest noted how the young whose parents are working abroad could easily be lured into drugs.

“We are trying to restore the image of Tagbilaran, which has been a city of peace and friendship,” Po said.

City clean-up

The peace advocates launched their campaign with a prayer rally last November.

“We cleaned up children’s playground that had been frequented by suspicious people,” the priest said.

Tindogi Tagbilaran, which means ‘stand up Tagbilaran’ in the local tongue, was founded in September 2014, following a series of drug-related killings in the city.

Tagbilaran is a component city of Bohol, an island province in Central Visayas and one of country’s premiere eco-tourism destinations. (Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)

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