Language Sites
  • UCAN China
  • UCAN India
  • UCAN Indonesia
  • UCAN Vietnam

Women assert role in Philippines' anti-narcotics war

Faith-based group says women are better disposed to helping drug offenders get back on the right path

Women assert role in Philippines' anti-narcotics war

Women from various faiths in the Philippines call on the government to act "compassionately" to help drug dependents during an interfaith women gathering in Manila on Oct. 6. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

 

Mark Saludes, Manila
Philippines

October 10, 2016

Mail This Article
(For more than one recipient, type addresses separated by commas)


Women from various religions in the Philippines say there is a very "important role" they should play in the government's anti-narcotics campaign, which has claimed thousands of lives in the past three months.

"Women who understand faith have a strong grip on the values that are needed in dealing with the rehabilitation of drug offenders," said Macrina Morados, dean of the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines.

The same women who "suffer as victims of crimes and abuses" can "show mercy and extend compassion" to help reintegrate drug addicts back to mainstream society, Morados told ucanews.com on the sidelines of a two-day "celebration of life and faith."

The event at a Manila hotel organized by the group Catholics for Reproductive Health on Oct. 6 aims "to unify women from different faiths on issues concerning right to life and human dignity."

Luz Frances Chua, leader of the Catholic organization, emphasized the role women play on "issues that are very close to women's hearts."

She said the government's anti-narcotics campaign affects mostly women "who lost their children, wives who lost their husbands, or daughters who lost their fathers."  

 

Value-based rehabilitation

Women are challenged to help drug offenders back into "a life that every mother dreams for their children," said Chua.

"If there's any intervention that we can do, it is to remind every child who had gone astray that he or she is valuable, that his or her life has value for us," she said.

Chua said women are "trained for moral and emotional support," adding that to solve the drug problem in the country "a compassionate way of rehabilitating people" is necessary.

Judy Taguiwalo, head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said the government's drug rehabilitation program involves faith-based organizations and women in the community. 

She lamented that government rehabilitation efforts are not being given attention by the media. 

Morados said it is logical to involve faith-based organizations "because of their theological training and experience on how to implement compassionate initiatives."

She said church groups understand "clinical counseling" and know how to deal with people, especially those dependent on illegal drugs.

 

Lack of unified church action

The Rev. Erahvilla Maga-Cabillas of the Philippine Independent Church, however, said major religions in the country lack a "united effort" to help the government address the drug problem.

"We hear many religious leaders criticize [the government] rather than take actions to utilize their resources to help heal the wounded hearts of people affected by this crisis," Maga-Cabillas told ucanews.com.

She said faith-based women are now "more challenged to provide sanctuary not only for victims of social injustices but for people who are victims of the illegal drug trade."

The Protestant church leader called on religious groups to come up with a concerted action to address the narcotics problem.

"Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and indigenous peoples must come together and help in the government's campaign without compromising our faith and human dignity," she said.

Maga-Cabillas said the country's church leaders should "go back to our teachings and traditions to find inspirations for promoting dignity, equality, and human rights."  

Chua of the Catholics for Reproductive Health said "women believers of the divine implore [President Rodrigo Duterte] to end the killings of suspected drug users and dealers.

"We are women of peace asking the president to end the killings," said Chua.

The Philippine National Police say 3,684 drug-linked killings have occurred since Duterte's anti-narcotics war began on July 1. Of that figure, 1,390 deaths were attributed to police operations, while unidentified assailants killed 2,294 people.

 

UCAN needs your support to continue our independent journalism
Access to UCAN stories is completely free of charge - however it costs a significant amount of money to provide our unique content. UCAN relies almost entirely on donations from our readers and donor organizations that support our mission. If you are a regular reader and are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation. Click here to donate now.
La Civiltà Cattolica
 

LATEST

Support Our Journalism

Access to UCAN stories is completely free of charge - however it costs a significant amount of money to provide our unique content. UCAN relies almost entirely on donations from our readers and donor organizations that support our mission. If you are a regular reader and are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation.

Quick Donate

Or choose your own donation amount