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Catholic Church: Pioneer in Rehabilitation of Drug Dependents

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in altum


Atty. Aurora SantiagoI was thinking that sometimes, we need not follow the Catholic preaching do not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing or Do not announce your good deeds. At present, there is really a need to let known what good things are being done by the Catholic Church. Itis very clear that Malacañang is not aware of what the Catholic Church is doing regarding the government’s campaign against illegal drugs. In his latest public pronouncements, President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the Catholic Church for not doing anything about Drug Rehabilitation (I am just wondering why he is not calling the attention of other religions). The President does know about the Rehabilitation Program for Drug Dependents that the Catholic Church is engaged in. The President is not aware that the Catholic Church is working hand in hand with the Local Government Units, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Philippine National Police.

In early September 2016, the Diocese of Novaliches started its Drug Rehabilitation Program. In October 2016, the Diocese of Kalookan launched its Task Force Salubong, its own version of Drug Rehabilitation where not only the drug users and drug pushers who surrendered to the authorities were rehabilitated but also their respective families and community. Psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, nurses, social workers volunteered to participate in the Program. The Council of the Laity of Kalookan sponsored a concert to raise fund to support Task Force Salubong. Then, the Archdiocese of Manila and other Dioceses followed suit.
It is about time that the Dioceses with ongoing Rehabilitation Program for Drug Dependents make known what they are doing. Let the others initiate the project if they do not have such project yet. We must help our brethren who were forced by circumstances to make the wrong choice. Let us not be mere fence sitters. Let us bombard social media that we are at the forefront of giving assistance to the drug dependents, contrary to the false information that the President receives. We should not allow the Catholic Church to be the whipping boy. Sometimes, keeping silent is not a virtue; to keep silent about our good deeds is interpreted that we do not care.


There have been controversies regarding the implementation of the P2,000.00 per month increase in the pension of retired members of SSS (Social Security System). The bill was vetoed by the then President Noynoy Aquino. President Duterte picked it up during the campaign. Recently, Malacañang announced that it will only be P1,000.00increase but with the corresponding increase in monthly contributions of members. Rationale: in 10 years, SSS will not have enough fund to finance the project. We observed that SSS fund is fast becoming the “milking cow” of SSS officials. Malacañang should look deeper into this matter and should act on the following:

  1. Is SSS diligent in collecting the monthly contributions of SSS members and their respective employers? SSS Records show billions of pesos of uncollected contributions because the employers failed to remit to SSS.
  2.  Business rule: bonus is given if the corporation had profits. Why is SSS giving millions of pesos in bonus to its Board of Directors, officials and employees when the SSS finances is at its lowest level? They do not deserve the millions of pesos bonus if they could not manage SSS efficiently.
  3.  Bonus is given to officers and employees for job well done. Records show that SSS is inefficient and negligent in its collection effort, they do not deserve such bonus.
  4. SSS officials and employees receive high salary. They do not deserve millions of pesos in salaries if SSS had billions of pesos loss.


We greet Happy Fiesta to the parishioners of San Ildefonso de Navotas Parish, on the Feast of their Patron Saint. Next year is their Silver Anniversary as a Parish. In celebration of the Year of the Parish, the new Parish Priest Fr. Amado “Bong” Gino and the Parish Pastoral Council highlighted the importance of the 7 sacraments, the visible rites seen as signs and effective channels of the grace of God to all those who receive them with the proper disposition. Aside from celebrating the Novena Masses in the Church, there were also Novena Masses in BEC (Basic Ecclesial Communities) areas. There were also Binyagan Bayan (baptism), Kumpilan Bayan (confirmation), Kumpisalan (penance and reconciliation) in city jail, Kasalan Bayan (matrimony/wedding), Pagpapahid ng Santo Oleo (anointing of the Holy Oil) to the sick and the elderly). Fr. Bong chose to be installed as new parish priest on the Feast Day of San Ildefonso, to be officiated by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David. During his Installation Mass, parishioners are requested to offer nilagang saging, camote, mais, mani o itlog (cooked banana, camote, corn, peanuts or boiled eggs). The offerings will be shared by the parishioners after the Mass. Since San Ildefonso Church is under construction, Fr. Bong suggested the need to save and decided to be the presider in all Masses in the parish.


Congratulations to Vicar General of the Diocese of Kalookan, Fr. Jeronimo Ma. Cruz—the newly-installed Rector of San Roque Cathedral; also installed as Parochial Vicars are Fr. Richard Omol and Fr. Edgar Guantero; guest priests are Fr. Rogelio Guinit and Fr. Syl Mutia. Scheduled to be installed in the first week of February are: Msgr. Alex V. Amandy and Fr. Joey Enriquez as Parish Priest and Parochial Vicar, respectively, of Immaculate Conception Parish; Fr. Alberto Caballero as Parish Priest of St. Joseph The Workman Parish; Fr. Lauro Frias and Fr. Jojo Aguas as Parish Priest and Guest Priest, respectively of Immaculate Heart Of Jesus And Mary Parish; Fr. Mariano Bartolome as Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Of Jesus, Tugatog. Bishop Pablo Virgilio David will officiate in the Installation of the new parish priests, parochial vicars and guest priests in the Diocese of Kalookan.

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