Priest: Local community action vs. drug problem needed
MANILA – Anti-drug advocate Fr. Luciano Felloni stressed the need for action and intervention of local communities to end the rampant drug problem in the Philippines.
“We have to [do] something to help, to help the government in the war against drugs but we have to do it in a Christian way,” he said in a lecture at the 4th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization on July 30 at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
The Argentinian internet personality is also known for spearheading a community-based rehabilitation program in his parish in cooperation with locals and the police.
“We cannot simply watch these events unfold,” the parish priest of Camarin, Caloocan said. “Prayer is not enough.”
Felloni’s parish began their project of providing counsel to drug dependents late last year. And only last April, the first batch graduated and were officially removed from the PNP’s watch list.
“This took a lot of effort [from] the whole community, but it’s possible,” the Argentinian priest said, adding that this was a cumulative effort of volunteer professionals. “We need to do [real] things to help.”
The Argentinian internet personality also shared about the deputizing of parish priests in the city of Caloocan, empowering them to receive surrendering drug users and pushers.
“The government saw that what we offered was not criticism but rather a helping hand willing to cooperate and trust,” he further explained in Filipino.
Speaking under the theme of social justice, the priest explained how people also harbor “wrong perceptions” of drug dependents.
“Number one is all addicts are criminals. This is wrong,” he lamented.
Previously, President Duterte had reiterated the need to rid society of drug pushers and drug users, declared a war against drugs, and directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to take all necessary measures to end the illegal drug trade.
“They are not pests of society,” the Caloocan priest emphasized in Filipino. “Drug addicts are very wounded and very hurt but they are people…and most probably I would say, in need of healing like all of us.” Maria Katreena Saguid/CBCPNews