OF TREES AND FOREST
By MANNY VILLAR
Last December 13, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte joined our family as we unveiled the markers of the new Las Piñas’ Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) as well as the Mella Hotel on C5 Extension in Barangay Pulang Lupa, Las Piñas City.
The drug rehabilitation facility sits on a property formerly owned by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), but bought by the Department of Health (DOH) through its 2018 GAA budget.
Our family, through the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (SIPAG) Foundation, donated the renovation and refurbishment of two idle buildings to transform the buildings into the Las Piñas Drug Rehabilitation Center, which will cater to drug victims in the Southern Metro Manila and in the nearby province of Cavite.
The DILG, the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines (VMLP). and the Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines (PBMLP) are also partners in this worthwhile endeavor.
This is our humble contributions to the war against illegal drugs. While our Philippine National Police (PNP) hunt down drug lords and pushers, we need to be able to give those who have decided to turn a new leaf the chance to change their ways.
Included in this program is our initiative to provide drug users with farming skills as an alternative livelihood. This facility represents a second chance for those who want to live in peace with the community. Here, we hope to teach drug dependents farming, gardening, livestock raising, entrepreneurship, and other skills they would need as they become productive members of society.
Everybody deserves a second chance. We all commit mistakes. We make wrong decisions at some point in our lives. But if a person truly shows remorse and demonstrates a determination to change for the better, then society needs to give that person an opportunity to change.
We supported then Mayor Duterte in his quest for the presidency and we continue to support him so that he, and by extension, the nation would succeed. We continue to believe in the cause for which the Filipinos placed their trust in him—peace and order, sovereignty, and progress.
Many were surprised when 16 million voters catapulted Mayor Duterte to the presidency. I was not surprised. I understood how his message resonated with Filipinos who witnessed how drugs ruined their families, how drugs killed their loved ones and how drugs made their communities unsafe.
The President has unleashed the harshness of the law in order to stop drug dealers and pushers, who continue to destroy our nation’s future. I am glad that by supporting drug rehabilitation programs, the President has also demonstrated his humanity. He will be the first one to admit that he has flaws and that everyone deserves a second chance.
What has become increasingly clear is that our problems are so daunting we need the contributions of everyone in order to succeeded. The President’s political will is not enough. The PNP doing its job is not enough. We need members of the community pitching in—reporting crimes, helping users change their ways, educating our young.