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Illegal drugs, a plague in society

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in altum

 

Atty. Aurora A. SantiagoThe Diocese of Kalookan celebrated the Feast of its Patron Saint, San Roque. The culmination of the celebration was the Holy Eucharist presided by its bishop, Most Rev. Pablo Virgilio“Ambo” S. David, and concelebrated by the Kalookan clergy. Despite heavy rains, many devotees and parishioners joined the procession after the Fiesta Mass.

Those who attended the Mass received plenary indulgence under the usual required conditions – Sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and Prayer for the intention of the Holy Pope.

In his homily, Bishop Ambo lauded San Roque as a model in his service to God and his response with mercy to the needs of his community. San Roque came from a rich family, His parents died when he was 20. He gave up the properties he inherited from his parents to help the poor in his community. In his pilgrimage to Rome, he passed by a town where there was an outbreak of disease; he stopped and cared for the sick, until he was afflicted with the disease and later died.

Bishop Ambo said that similarly, our country is now in the midst of a severe plague, the pestilence of illegal drugs. Drug addicts can possibly become drug pushers when they are left with no cash to pay for the drugs they need. Drug addicts are not criminals, they are sick persons who need to be treated and cured. It is a different matter if they turned drug pushers.

It has become a common sight in the news where drug addicts are killed, either because they fought the police or they were summarily killed by the so-called “vigilantes”. They might have been killed by their former suppliers. Bishop Ambo enjoined everyone to extend a helping hand to those who are hiding in fear for their life but are willing to surrender. His advice is to bring them to him or to the priests, “we should help them surrender to the police; tell the police that these people volunteered to surrender, that they should not be gunned down because they want to start a new life.”

Bishop Ambo said that he celebrated Masses in the city jails of Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas; that the jails are over-populated; the jail warden told him that 95% of the inmates are drug addict. The good bishop said that those people need our help. Jails are not rehabilitation center. It is also true that they are not only drug addict but could be drug pushers. He said that drug pushers destroy the lives of many people. He counseled the parishioners that if they know that their children, family members or relatives are drug pushers, it is their duty to advise them to stop their illegal trade.They should tell them to surrender because they are committing a serious crimeand are destroying the lives of many Filipinos. “When you do not do anything to convince them to stop their criminal act and stop their foolishness, you are committing a sin, and you are considered partners in crime.”.”

Bishop Ambo concluded “Kailangan hindi langawa. Kailangan hindi langpag-unawa, kailangan higit sa lahat ang gawa. Ang gawa na nagmumula sa awa, habag, malasakit at kagandahang loob…” (We need, not only mercy. We need, not only understanding. What we need more than ever is action).

He advised “Kung ibig natin na pakinggan ng Diyos ang ating panalangin, pakinggan muna natin ang mga hinaing ng ating mga kapwa na kapos palad. Kung ibig nating maging maka-Diyos, pag-aralan natin ang umibig at magmahal hindi lang sa may silbi sa atin, kundi pati na mga walang silbi sa atin at nakasakit sa atin. Kung ibig nating patuluyin tayo ng Diyos, ang Dakilang Pastol, kailangan matuto rin tayong patuluyin. Ano man ang ginawa ninyo sa mga aba sa kapatid ko, iyan ay ginawa nyo sa akin.” (If we want God to listen to our prayers, let us first listen to the cry of our brethren. If we want to be good follower of God, let us learn to love not only those who are valuable to us but also those who are useless and who hurt us. If we want God to receive us, the Good Shepherd, we must learn to receive, for what you have done to the least of my brothers, you did it to me).

***

The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communication held its 2nd National Media Convention 2016 this August 2016 at Angel’s Hill Retreat & Formation Center, Tagaytay City. Main speaker was Mr. Sean Patrick Lovette of the Vatican Radio who talked about the Vatican Perspectives in organizing the Philippine Media Ministry.

Other speakers were: Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ, on Broadcast Track, Msgr. Pepe Quitorio on Social Media Track; On Print Media Track, Mr. Noel de Leon on Print Media Track; and On Workshop on Integration of Media Plans, Mr. Edwin Lopez; On Moving Forward In ECSC, Sis. Consolata Manding.

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Bishop Ambo is one of the members of the Steering Committee of the International Eucharistic Congress who was granted audience by Pope Francis on September 7. Knowing that the Pope is not fond of gold and silver and prefers simple but useful things, the Bishop decided to gift the Pope with a staff made of “yantok” with decorations made by the wood carvers of his hometown in Betis, Pampanga. The staff is always used by the Shepherd in guiding his sheep.

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After the rains, we should protect ourselves and our family not only against dengue but also against the Zika virus by practicing these helpful tips. (1) Use insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites; (2) Dress your child in clothing that covers their arms and legs; (3) Repair holes in window screens to keep mosquitoes out.

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