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THEY CALL IT ‘SURRENDER.’ A National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) worker takes the fingerprints of one of the men from Bukidnon who responded to the government’s call for people involved in illegal drugs to stop and mend their ways. The men, belonging to a group of about 14, were brought by Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri to the NBI regional office here yesterday. The government calls this act “surrender” but hasn’t been holding or charging those who responded with any crime. (PHOTO BY NITZ ARANCON)

Archbishop offers to help in drug rehab

CAGAYAN de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, on Sunday offered all churches in the archdiocese as facilities where drug dependents may undergo rehabilitation and healing.

Ledesma said churches in Misamis Oriental and Camiguin provinces would open their parish halls for drug dependents who are willing to be rehabilitated.

The archbishop made the announcement after his priests met with social welfare officials amid concerns over the effects of government’s anti-illegal drug campaign dubbed “Oplan Tokhang.”

The campaign has led to the death of several drug suspects, some of them believed to have been victims of extrajudicial killings.

Concerns have been raised, too, on the lack of rehabilitation centers for drug dependents.

“These drug dependents desperately need hep and if they are willing, the Church will help to give them a chance to change themselves,” Ledesma said.

Data from the National Police in Region 10 showed over 50,000 drug dependents have submitted themselves to authorities since the campaign against illegal drugs started in July.

Ledesma said the parish of Malitbog town in Bukidnon has been successful in helping the drug dependents by opening its church for the rehabilitation sessions.

He said in Cagayan de Oro, the Department of Health has agreed to conduct screening among the dependents while the City Social Welfare Development Office has offered therapy sessions to the families of the dependents.

He said this would ensure that those who submitted themselves can be protected and no longer be harmed.

“The screening and monitor would also ensure that those alleged drug users and pushers are indeed real drug dealers and are not those included “lang sa listahan,” the prelate said.

Ledesma has criticized the rash of killings nationwide related to the campaign against illegal drugs by the Duterte administration.

He said the killings are “highly condemnable” and “not acceptable.”

“Save the user and the pusher. Killings should not be justified. It is against the law, the Constitution and morality. Killing without due process is highly condemnable,” he said. (froilan gallardo of mindanews)


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