MANILA, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma asked priests in his archdiocese to open churches for drug recovery programs, as President Rodrigo Duterte wages a bloody war on illegal drugs.
Ledesma, however, condemned extrajudicial killings as a way to address the drug crisis.
“I am asking all pastors in the Archdiocese to open available facilities such as churches and parish halls for community-based recovery programs,” Ledesma said in a pastoral letter dated August 4.
Ledesma also urged Catholic groups to join these efforts to “accompany” those recovering from drug addiction.
“The problem with drugs has reached the level of a calamity and an emergency situation. It is systemic, having its roots in poverty, woundedness, greed, and abuse of power. It has become a plague afflicting the whole society,” the archbishop said.
He then pointed out: “If there is a positive side to the current war on drugs, it is the fact that thousands have surrendered and hundreds more arrested and put to jail. The problem with the latter is that our jails have become extremely congested since they were built for a limited number of detainees only; but now the number has been multiplied many times over.”
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