Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, signed an agreement which establishes a partnership between the Archdiocese of Manila and "Fazenda da Esperança" ("Farm of Hope"), a special " therapeutic farm" that welcomes drug addicts who, working within the farm, follow a path of drug detoxification.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed with one of the founders of the Fazenda, Belgian missionary Father Hans Stapel, was signed during the "Day of Hope" at the end of the Mass held in the Cathedral in Manila yesterday, Sunday, January 8.
As Fides learns, the Cardinal said: "For every life there is hope", referring to the recovery of addicts, especially youth, and their possible full reintegration into society. "Young people can get out of the darkness. Jesus Christ is stronger than drugs", said Father Stapel, announcing that the company - already present in other cities such as Milagros, Masbate and Naga City - intends to open other centers in the Philippines. The Fazenda was founded in 1983 in Sao Paulo and now has over one hundred therapeutic communities in Mozambique, Paraguay, Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico, Germany, Portugal.
Father Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila, said that the signed agreement aims to establish cooperation between the company and a program already initiated by Caritas Manila, in charge of accompanying drug addicts and their families through a path of spiritual formation, advice, assistance and professional formation projects.
The agreement wants to also be a response to the campaign of elimination of crime and drugs promoted by President Rodrigo Duterte that - despite the criticism of NGOs regarding the attitude of the police and groups of "vigilantes" - has already killed in six months more than 6,200 people. The Catholic Church in the Philippines intends to show institutions that the way to lead a "war on drugs" is cultural awareness and the rehabilitation and recovery of addicts, not their suppression. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 09/01/2017)