Ex-drug dependents promise: ‘No turning back’

Ex-drug dependents promise: ‘No turning back’

Former drug dependents vowed, “No turning back” during the recently-concluded Quezon City Community Based Drug Rehabiliation Program (QC CBDRP) Graduation held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Novaliches Bayan, Quezon City, Dec. 20, 2017. MINNIE AGDEPPA

QUEZON City – Just a few days before Christmas, former drug dependents declared their commitment to never return to their former lives, during the recently-concluded Quezon City Community Based Drug Rehabiliation Program (QC CBDRP) Graduation held on Dec. 20 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Novaliches Bayan in this city.

“We are here to prove that we have really changed by finishing this program,” said Jason, one of the 697 drug surrenderees who graduated under the QC CBDRP, a program under the Ugnayang ng mga Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS) of the Diocese of Novaliches, the Diocese of Cubao, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Local Government Units (LGUs), and the Quezon City local government.

Jason and other former drug dependents from Lagro was among a group of graduates from the six districts of Quezon City who wore red t-shirts printed with the words “No Turning Back.” Asked why, he said, “It’s because we wanted to prove that we are not going back [to drugs]. Our transformation will be continuous from now on.”

Respect for self, others

He said the program, which comprises 15 modules given to “out patient” surrenderees in a span of more than six months, in collaboration with non-government organizations, helped him realize the importance of self-respect and respect for others.

“I learned to value myself and to respect family, most especially God,” he emphasized. He expressed his gratitude to his family,especially to his wife and two children, for helping him succeed in the program.

A changed man now active in serving God through the Christian group “Light of the World,” Jason looks forward to a brighter future.

He said his plans after graduation are “a beautiful life, a good job, and a happy family.”

‘No life wasted’

According to Quezon City vice mayor Joy Belmonte, who represented the city government at the graduation being the head of its Anti-Drug Abuse Council (QCADAC), there were supposed to be 700 graduates but three failed since they still tested positive for illegal drugs in a medical exam given a week prior to the graduation. Thus, they will have to continue undergoing the program, which she said is proof of the Quezon city government’s thrust of upholding life.

“No life is wasted her in Quezon City,” she began her speech during the graduation rites, after the rest of the key officials of the program that included Liga Ng Mga Barangay president Hon. Ricardo Corpuz, PNP QC District Director PCSupt Guillermo Eleazar, QC District 3 councilor Hon. Gian Sotto, and DILG assistant regional director Juan Ingeniero gave their messages.

“Now in the season of Christmas,” she stressed, “We know that Our Lord Jesus Christ came down to earth not for those who have beautiful lives but He came for those whose lives who others thought are hopeless. Jesus Christ proved that every one has hope in this life.”

Towards a new life

Novaliches Bishop Antonio R. Tobias, D.D., and some members of the Novaliches clergy celebrated a Mass before the graduation rites. In his homily, the prelate reminded the graduates that the graduation rites is the beginning of their journey to “a new life.”

“To the graduates, this is not the end but the beginning of your journey in the right path Our Lord wants you to take,” he pointed out. The bishop then thanked all the stakeholders of the program that included Ateneo De Manila and psycho-social facilitators. He urged every one to continue working together for the program and its beneficiaries for the good of the communities.

The Diocese of Novaliches CBDRP, entitled Abot Kamay Alang-alang sa Pagbabago (AKAP), was launched in 2016 and has since collaborated with the QC government for the rehabilitation of surrenderees.

Almost half of the new graduates came from the Diocese of Novaliches, which comprises 25 barangays under Districts 2, 4, 5, and 6 of Quezon City. CBCPNews