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Davao drug users’ journey towards change

Davao drug users’ journey towards change

DAVAO City —The local church of Davao has not given up on them as they start their baby steps towards change.

The Sagop Kinabuhi Program 2 (SKP 2), an initiative of the Archdiocese of Davao in partnership with the University of Southeastern Philippines, has started reaping the fruits of what it has sown with 35 drug reformists finishing the first phase of this program that aims to make them productive citizens and changed individuals.

Formerly the name of an archdiocesan program for children in conflict with the law, Sagop Kinabuhi, which in Cebuano means “save lives”, has since evolved into a program to help people involved in drug use, especially those who have mild to moderate cases of substance abuse as those into drug addiction are addressed by different agencies.

The VSRs, or drug users, who went into voluntary submission for reformation, joined the Family and Fun Day at the University of Southeastern Philippines main campus in Obrero, Davao City on July 15.

Part of the said event is the “moving up” or finishing of the first phase of formation, an 18-week intensive psycho-spiritual formation. The program only caters to 30-35 individuals at a time to ensure the over-all quality of the formation.

Family, community, Church

Sr. Ma. Marissa Arado, TDM, coordinator of the Archdiocesan Social Action Center of Davao (ASAC), the social services arm of the Archdiocese of Davao, said it is important to involve the family in the reformation of drug users as they play an important role in the life of an individual, especially if the drug user is a parent.

“The family is an important factor that will help a drug user change for the better and the community, and the Church will also help in the after-care of the individual,” Arado said.

The event also catered to the medical needs of the VSRs and their families through a medical mission during the whole day activity. Different sports like basketball, volleyball, and table tennis were also organized to the delight of the VSRs and their family.

During the Family and Fun Day, the VSRs also participated in the Holy Mass officiated by Fr. Christopher Alcayde, who was once assigned in (ASAC) during his diaconal program.

In his homily, he likened a person’s life to a hundred peso bill, which despite being crumpled and stepped on ,will still retain its value.

He added that God’s love is unlimited and fair to all that despite one’s brokenness, He will continues to love His children.
Alcayde said every life is sacred and has dignity despite an individual’s past mistakes.

New lives to change

The SKP is set to receive another set of 35 VSRs, who will undergo the said formation program.

The second phase, which still integrates the psycho-spiritual aspect, includes livelihood training to be given by partner agencies like Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Since starting the program in Oct. 7, 2016, ASAC and partner agencies will continue their commitment to help drug users hope for better lives, said Arado. CBCPNews