#speakLIFE: FIS Drug Addiction Intervention Conference
Don Bosco Technical College, Cebu, Philippines.
The Philippine South Province (FIS) organized an activity entitled, #speaklife: Drug Addiction Intervention Conference held last May 5, 2018 at the Don Bosco Technical College gymnasium. It was attended by the representatives of each Don Bosco settings from the Visayas and Mindanao area and as well as the youth leaders from the neighboring parishes.
The topics discussed were:
1. The latest information and statistics of the drug situation in the country given by Mr. Gary Lao of the Cebu City Office of Substance Abuse prevention (COSAP).
2. The nature and dynamics of drug addiction given by Dr. Emmanuel Hernani, a professor in Cebu Normal University.
3. The moral guidelines or parameters of the Church on drug addiction given by the Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo, DD.
4. Sharing of best practices in the community given by a representative of the community-based rehab program of Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue, Cebu.
5. A spiritual reflection on drug addiction given by Fr. Philip Lazatin, SDB.
Archbishop Jose Palma, DD sent a message to the participants of the #speaklife conference through the DILAAB Foundation founder, Fr. Carmelo Diola. Here is the message:
“My dear priests, religious brothers and sisters, and all participants in this convention. greetings of peace!
Allow me to welcome all of you in this drug addiction intervention convention entitled #speaklife organized by the Salesians of St. John Bosco South province (Visayas and Mindanao) or FIS Province.
In this event, let me begin by these words taken from the “Common Declaration of Commitment on Church – Led CBRP or Community-Based Recovery Program, it is stated in the document the reality of drug addictions in the country, “We recognize that drug addiction in the Philippines has psycho-emotional and spiritual roots, driven by poverty and social factors. It is a chronic, relapsing brain disease to be managed for long haul. Social stigma merely aggravates the problem and turns a blind eye to our pressing need to belong and be connected. We discern with and stand in solidarity with other sectors to do something for drug dependents, their families, and communities we have gone beyond mere talk to do something for heaven’s sake. We have put out into the deep and have encountered the mystery of God’s love in the wounds of our fellow Filipinos. We are seeing lives being transformed, including our own. Our efforts work. There are standards and best practices. We go home bringing memories and modules to share.”
By this commitment, it is one way of showing to the world that the Church is not just a mere institution managed by men but is guided by God himself. For her mission is for the salvation of souls through living and preaching the Gospel, and for the protection of human dignity. Our fight is not just for those damaged and threatened by drug addictions but also all aspect of social injustices like poverty, unemployment, corruption, prostitution, child abuse,etc. We are also being reminded by the recent Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, Gaudete et Exsultate, paragraph 42, “God is mysteriously present in the life of every person, in a way that he himself chooses, and we cannot exclude this by our presumed certainties. Even when someone’s life appears completely wrecked, even when we see it devastated by vices or addictions, God is present there. If we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit rather than our own preconceptions, we can and must try to find the Lord in every human life.”
Finally, may this convention can contribute in our efforts to address those devastated by drug addictions, and may we become God’s instruments of healing, unity, and forgiveness.”
The #speaklife conference was capped by the testimonies of two recovering drug dependents who emphasized that their biggest blessings are the volunteers of the community-based rehab who are not afraid of them but instead showed so much dedication helping them. Another point of emphasis was the revival of their relationship with God and the support of their families. Truly there is hope if we do some interventions that are tangible and lots of networking with other agencies.
The #speaklife conference was organized by the joint efforts of the Commission on Youth Ministry (CYM), Commission on Mission (CoM), Salesian Youth Movement (SYM), and the Social Communications (SocCom).