MAGANES: Spiritual counseling of drug surrenderers under Oplan Tokhang

July 4, 2017 at 9:23 pm Leave a comment

virThe move to place hundreds or millions of drug surrenderers throughout the country under spiritual counseling is a laudable program to instill in them spiritual and moral values.

 Under the Community-Based Spiritual Counseling, there are designated chaplains coming from Christian religious sects  who will provide the drug surrenderers with lessons within a 6-month period. During this period, the drug surrenderers will be reporting to their chaplains and have to complete their lessons and other activities. The municipal governments will shoulder the costs of the said activity. During their two-day spiritual retreat village (barangay) governments will provide them allowance of P250, after which they will graduate from their moral recovery lessons.

 As I said, the move is a laudable effort that would sway the drug surrenderers from going back to their vices and be productive citizens in their communities. This is also to ensure that during police monitoring activities, these drug surrenderers have already been mainstreamed to the communities and no longer using or pushing drugs.

 While I laud such activity, I think there is a lack of spiritual counseling. We are all aware that drug surrenderers have their own spiritual faith, as they are either  Catholics, Pentecostals, Iglesia ni Cristo, Muslims, etc. What actions have been done to mainstream them to their own faiths and religious sects? This is a very important aspect in spiritual values and moral recovery. Although the 24 lessons as contained in the modules are directed to the words of God, there might be not acceptable to one’s faith or religious affiliations. I think this is an area that should be considered. After the moral recovery programs, the drug surrenderers must continue their spiritual counseling from their own priests, ministers and pastors for them to imbibe more spirituality and moral values.

 I am not saying here that the chaplains are not doing their supposed work for the spiritual change. They are working on it. What I am driving at is proper monitoring. Their church leaders (of their religious affiliations) should be encouraged to participate in the efforts for them to change. Religious convictions are necessary in changing their lives. After graduation, the drug surrenderers should be properly connected to their spiritual leaders who could be tapped for monitoring activities.


Lately, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was the cynosure of netizens all over social media. He became a laughing stock because of his blunders during the interview of Hardtalk hosted by Stephen Sackur of the British Bradcasting Company (BBC), which was viewed on television worldwide. Trillanes was caught flat-footed and seemed to have not prepared himself during the interview.

 Trillanes is one of the critics of President Duterte, along with Senators Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, Leila Delima, Francis Pangilinan and Franklin Drilon. Except Trillanes who belongs to the Nacionalista Party, all of the critics belong to the Liberal Party.

 In that interview, it appeared that Sackur was more knowledgeable on the prevailing situation in the Philippines. He studied his questions well that made Trillanes too ignorant of what’s happening in his own country. Trillanes showed himself that he’s critiquing President Duterte for nothing. He just wanted that his administration will fail although he knows very well that under the Duterte administration, many reforms have already been installed.

Here’s a senator who could not even understand what a democrat is. When asked by Sackur if he’s a democrat, Trillanes answered that he is a member of the Nacionalista Party making Sackur grinned and said “I am not asking your party affiliation.” What a mess! Sen. Trillanes should have done his homework because Hardtalk does not provide its interviewees advance questions. For the information of my reader, a democrat is one who is a supporter or an advocate of democracy. Since Trillanes has mounted two coups during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, this might be the reason why Sackur asked him if he supports democracy in the Philippines.

 Another blunder that made me laugh was when Trillanes said that marijuana and not shabu is the most popular drug being used in the Philippines. Is Trillanes blind? Isn’t he aware that drug surrenderers using shabu have reached more than a million mark? Isn’t he aware also that thousands of shabu users have been killed due to resistance during arrests by police authorities? Trillanes, a graduate of the prestigious Philippine Military Academy (PMA, should be the first to know the real situation of the drug problems in the country. Well, I appreciate his courage and conviction but it seems those are not aligned with what he really believes in. As I said, he’s a critic of Duterte for nothing.

 Trillanes could not even appreciate the popularity of Duterte among Filipinos. When asked by Sackur on what his take on the 75% popularity of Duterte, he said that the figure could dwindle in months. On this Sackur said that in Western countries, that popularity rating could make politicians very happy. If I were Sackur, I could have asked what’s the popularity rating of Trillanes both on Pulse Asia Survey and Social Weather Stations. Trillanes’ popularity has dwindled and considered “poor”. He does not fare well as of now to the Filipinos across all classes. Now, he has the temerity to question the popularity of Duterte.

 The myopic eyes of Trillanes have put himself in shambles. He’s self-destructing and Filipinos could hardly pardon him for his actions. He’s bereft of dignity, which was the same accusations he did to former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes. During a senate hearing, he told Reyes pointblank that he has no dignity to boast of. After several days, Reyes then committed suicide in front of the tomb of his mother.

 Trillanes could have been a trusted as critic of Duterte if he only knows what’s he is saying. He should acknowledge the best sides of President Duterte’s administration. Of course there are areas that need to be criticized and these have to be done objectively and not subjectively. Duterte as President has his own weaknesses but his accomplishments have fared well among the Filipinos.

If Trillanes will not stop his ways, I subscribe to what Sackur said that he will just bang his head on the brick wall.

 (For comments and suggestions, email me at or Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at Read the online edition of Northern Watch at


Entry filed under: News.

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