'Small majority' of Filipinos want Church help in drug rehab
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A “small majority” of Filipinos, according to a Pulse Asia September 2017 survey, want the Catholic Church to help in rehabilitation drug addicts, as well as monitor the ongoing drug war and speak out against the deaths linked to it.
These were the results of a Pulse Asia Ulat ng Bayan survey, held from September 24 to 30, 2017 but released on October 16.
In the survey, respondents were asked:
Ano po ang nararapat gawin ng mga pinuno ng Simbahang Katoliko sa kampanya laban sa iligal na droga (What should the leaders of the Catholic Church do about the campaign against illegal drugs)?
The following were the results:
- Help with rehabilitation of drug addicts - 58%
- Observe/monitor the campaign against illegal drugs - 46%
- Release statements expressing concern about the deaths associated with the campaign - 40%
- Assist in litigation against alleged abusive law enforcers - 28%
- They should not interfere with the government’s program - 13%
- International campaign to pressure the Duterte administration to suspend Oplan Tokhang - 11%
Pulse Asia did not say if respondents were allowed to choose only one or several options among the statements. (READ: Cubao bishop creates scholarship fund for drug war orphans)
In a statement, Palace Spokesman Ernesto Abella said the administration “has always been open” to the idea of the Catholic Church contributing to anti-illegal drug efforts through rehabilitation programs.
“It is unfortunate that the Church has been a staunch critic of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign. We appeal to the Catholic Church hierarchy to encourage some of its leaders to be more cautious in their pronouncements that drive a wedge among the flock,” said Abella.
He added: “These same leaders are at the core of the division within the Church that is proving to be an impediment to the complementary work of the church and government.”
The Church, in certain areas, has spearheaded efforts to help drug users even before Duterte's war on drugs began. It has since stepped up these efforts, given the millions who have surrendered under "Oplan Tokhang."
In the Philippines, Catholicism is the predominant religion. (READ: Cardinal Tagle slams drug trade, launches rehab)
The Church and related organizations, have consistently denounced the summary killings linked to the drug war. Other religious groups have also expressed condemnation.
Catholic Church leaders have also offered protection for policemen who want to testify on extrajudicial killings. On November 5, the Catholic Church is set to hold a huge procession against extrajudicial killings.
Since the war on drugs began, it has been both popular and controversial. The PNP has been accused of resorting to extralegal means in chasing after suspects. To date, the PNP has tallied over 3,800 dead as a result of police operations.
It has also tallied tens of thousands of arrested suspects and over a million alleged drug personalities “surrendered” through a knock-and-plead door-to-door operation. – Rappler.com