Bishop: Don’t treat drug addicts like outcasts
A Catholic bishop on Tuesday opposed discrimination against drug addicts, saying they should be given support for rehabilitation instead.
“Ako hinihiling ko sana ang mga pari natin, mga lay people,i-welcome ang mga [drug addicts]; huwag silang ituring na parang outcast (I’m asking our priests, the lay people, to welcome drug addicts; don’t treat them like outcasts),” said Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles in a statement.
Arguelles is also the chairman of the committee on public affairs at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
“Kung sila’y magbabago, tulungan natin. Kung hindi pa sila nagbabago, ipagdasal pa rin natin (If they’re going to change their ways, let’s help them. If they haven’t changed, let’s pray for them),” Arguelles said, adding that there should be an atmosphere of “love” and “help” for drug users willing to be reformed.
The statement added that the Dangerous Drug Board reported that there are only two church-run, 15 government-owned, and 27 private drug rehabilitation centers in the country accredited by the Department of Health.
Last Aug. 11, the San Miguel Corporation donated P1 billion to the government for the building of drug rehabilitation facilities as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Thousands of drug users and pushers across the country have surrendered to the police since Duterte took office last June. Jaehwa Bernardo, Inquirer.net trainee/JE/rga
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