After a string of casualties in the promised drug crackdown in Philippines, the Church has stepped in to tackle the drug problem.
The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro plans to partner up with local authorities in a program that will help prevent drug abuse and treat those who have already gone down the dreadful path. Archbishop Ledesma reportedly explained that even though the church does not have the facilities for scientific rehabilitation, it could offer spiritual healing. He added, "we cannot solve a crime by committing another crime."
The local archbishop was referring to the 'zero tolerance' policy that has been brought into effect as promised by President Rodrigo Duterte. The situation in the country continues to worsen, with the death toll rising. No investigations being initiated against police and vigilantes who fire on unarmed citizens, and the national police chief went so far as to urge the addicts to set fire to the homes of drug dealers, offering them immunity against punishment.
According to the archbishop, the program, christened 'Coalition for a Drug-free Society,' will see the City of Cagayan de Oro, the Department of Health, and various civil society groups joining hands to create awareness of the harm drugs cause and to rehabilitate drug users.
The coalition program will focus on three main areas – prevention, intervention, and community support.
"The Church will [take part in] the community support because we do not have the facilities for scientific rehabilitation. In fact, we can give community support in terms of counseling, spiritual healing, and also making available our parish halls and educational centers," Archbishop Ledesma explained.
Asia News reports that other catholic leaders have also expressed their support to this cause. Cardinal Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila, offered to extend the church's assistance to drug users, and said that by opening its facilities to them, the church would do its bit in helping them break free from the unhealthy practice.
He also rebuked drug dealers, stating, "Selling illegal substances and pushing young people into the habit is another form of murder. You kill their dreams, minds and social and family relationships."