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Malacañang urges Catholic church to help with rehabilitation program for drug users

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A priest blesses photos of victims of extra-judicial killings in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war during a gathering on the grounds of a church in Manila on March 1, 2017. -- AFP

MALACAÑANG yesterday urged Catholic dioceses to help in the drug rehabilitation program through partnerships with local government units and the police, citing as an example the recent collaboration between the Diocese of Novaliches and the Quezon City government.

Last Oct. 18, the Novaliches Diocese, Quezon City government, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) signed an agreement for a community-based drug rehabilitation program covering the Batasan area.

“The drug rehabilitation partnership agreement… is a commendable move to proactively help the national government in the anti-illegal drug campaign,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said in a statement.

“This kind of collaboration between the government and the church is what our people expect, as indicated by a recent survey showing majority saying that the Catholic church must help with the rehabilitation of drug addicts,” he added.

A recent Pulse Asia Survey showed 58% of Filipinos want the Catholic church’s intervention with the rehabilitation of drug addicts and 46% said the Catholic church should observe and monitor the campaign against illegal drugs.

“It is hoped that this kind of partnership can be replicated by the PNP and other offices involved in the comprehensive anti-illegal drugs campaign with other Dioceses, as well as other churches and church groups in the country,” Mr. Abella said. — Rosemarie A. Zamora

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