KP should push for more humane approaches to drug rehab

By: Malou Guanzon Apalisok October 03,2016 - 10:10 PM

Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s most trusted men, visited Cebu City last week to grace the launch of Kilusang Pagbabago (KP or Movement for Change) at the Cebu Coliseum. The event drew some 8,000 supporters who rallied behind the participatory governance initiative of the current administration. Participatory governance or bottoms up approach in setting priorities and decisions empowers the governed. Grassroots support is critical in times of calamities and disasters, including destabilization plots aimed to topple the present administration.

To illustrate that this initiative will go beyond mass oath-takings, Secretary Evasco announced President Duterte is set to sign an EO that will establish the Office of Participatory Government. Fast-tracking the creation of the new agency is the blessing of the KP Cebu-Visayas Office at the Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (Opascor) building in the North Reclamation Area. Opascor is associated with the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) party list who is represented in Congress by Raymond Mendoza.

What I consider more significant in Sec. Evasco’s visit to Cebu is his meeting with Fr. Carmelo “Melo” Diola, executive director of Dilaab Foundation. I got wind of the meeting between Evasco and Fr. Melo through social media.

Fr. Melo is immersed in drug rehabilitation and recovery program billed as “Labang,” the abbreviated form of “Lahat Bangon”. Labang is Cebuano for “to cross over.” The good priest joins Fe Barino and the Love of God charismatic community in rehab and recovery efforts for drug dependents and they are two of the very first non-government organizations (NGOs) who have responded to the task of drug rehabilitation after scores were killed in the aftermath of the brutal war on drugs.

In a previous column, I wrote that the government is at a loss on how to respond to hundreds of thousands of drug surrenderees because apparently, there is no plan on how to deal with them. In fact, because President Duterte believes that addicts have drug-addled brains and pose a danger to society, his statements appear to incite the police to kill them all.

I certainly hope KP through Sec. Evasco will push for a more humane approach to the problem of drug rehabilitation by supporting community-based drug rehab programs that have sprung up in Cebu.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the conference of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. PASWI is an association of professional social workers affiliated with local governments and non-government organizations. In light of the anti-drugs war, PASWI members took it upon themselves to organize a three-day conference in Cebu City to discuss possible interventions for drug dependents.

I commend PASWI for this initiative because the social workers have seen the gravity of the problem in their respective areas. I heard participants discuss ideas related to livelihood programs or organizing “Zumba” dance classes in the meantime because they have yet to hear of a doable community-based drug rehab program.

The biggest surprise of the three-day event held last week at an uptown hotel was when Fe Barino presented her paper on SuGod. After her talk, she was besieged with questions on how to replicate the program and how much would a Sugod training cost.

The biggest challenge for SuGod and Labang is how to sustain the program. Because both programs are holistic, they are intensive in terms of human and material resources. By the way, the Love of God Community will sponsor Batch 3 of Sugod (October 9–18, 2016) at the LoG Center in Yati, Liloan. For more information, contact 0917 321 6717.

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On Friday, October 7, Marian devotees in Cebu will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Rosary with a three-day devotional program highlighted by a Marian concert titled, “It’s All About Her” at the IEC Pavilion. The series of activities is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Cebu and a Manila-based co-op enterprise, Kapandesal Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

I had the privilege of interviewing Kapandesal founder and chairman of the board Mel Perez Tadeo and CEO Maryann Gonzales last week, and I could feel their excitement over the co-op’s unexpected sortie in Cebu.

According to media colleague Atty. Divine Flores, who helps coordinate the event, the original plan was just to raise funds for the benefit of school children studying through the charity of Our Lady of Lindogon Foundation. However, when the project was presented to Archbishop Jose Palma, the good prelate suggested a more elaborate scheme that included the visit of the Holy Virgin of Lindogon to Cebu City.

There are numerous miracles attributed to the Holy Virgin, and her visit to Cebu City is expected to draw people from neighboring towns and provinces. There will be masses, vigils, foot processions and other devotional activities to be held at the Metropolitan Cathedral and IEC Pavilion from October 7 to 9.

Naturally, the Kapandesal leaders were quite floored by Archbishop Palma’s offer, one which they couldn’t refuse; after all it was to honor and give thanks to the Mother of God on her feast as the Lady of the Holy Rosary.

It may be all coincidence but if Kapandesal MPC is thinking of branching out in Cebu, I can only say that Mel and Maryann have gotten for themselves a marketing strategy that is virtually made in heaven. Kapandesal is such a Pinoy derivative that the co-op has already scored high in terms of name recall. For Kapandesal to be associated with a charity project that spreads devotion, supports the local creative community and merges faith with cooperatives in a subliminal way, enhance the economic model more than tons of training seminars.

Tickets to “It’s All About Her” concert on Oct. 7 will be sold at the entrance of the IEC Pavilion.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, Cebu Coliseum, Duterte, Duterte Administration, Kilusang Pagbabago, KP, KP Cebu-Visayas Office at the Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation, Movement for Change, Opascor, Rodrigo Duterte, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, TUCP, Visayas Office at the Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation

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