Bishop ground breaks 16 has, drug rehab

Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete led over the weekend the simple groundbreaking rites for a 16-hectare drug rehabilitation center in Barangay Silab, Amlan in Negros Oriental.

The facility will cater to drug users who are seeking rehabilitation and treatment but cannot afford to go to Cebu or other places for lack of resources.

The project is in collaboration with the Fazenda da Esperanca or The Farm of Hope, a rehabilitation center with a faith-based approach to the problem of addiction (drugs and alcohol) and for those who want to depart from their old life and start all over again.

The Fazenda da Esperanza started out in Brazil about 30 years ago and runs a facility in Masbate province. It has a recovery program different from the usual modules of other rehabilitation centers, as it centers on community, work, and spirituality.

Discussions on the collaboration between the Diocese of Dumaguete and Fazenda started about two years ago after the government’s war against the illegal drugs trade started.

To respond to the need for a community-based rehabilitation center for drug “personalities” who were previously identified and invited by the police for profiling, the partnership between the diocese and Fazenda was hatched.

The diocese donated at first 14 hectares of land that it owned in Silab, but was able to acquire two more adjacent hectares.

During Saturday’s groundbreaking ceremony of the Fazenda da Esperanca-Dumaguete, arranged by Fr. Eric Lozada, the point person here for the project, Dumaguete Bishop Cortes, Amlan Mayor Manjoe Sycip, Barangay Chairman Marivic Ruamar, and Fazenda missionaries Jones Ricalde and Honesto Zapata planted indigenous tree seedlings as a symbol of life and prosperity.

Bishop Cortes, in his message, highlighted two things: gratitude and hope.

He thanked the government officials from the municipal and barangay levels of Amlan, communities’ members, chapel president, stakeholders, collaborators, and construction workers for their support to the project as it gears up for its launching and construction soon.

The Dumaguete prelate also thanked the Fazenda missionaries who traveled “so far to be here to be witnesses and prophets in our midst”.

As the project is seen to slowly come to fruition, Bishop Cortes emphasized the need for hope, just like the name of the rehab center suggests.

Quoting Pope Francis, he said that “you are called to be ambassadors of hope” while pointing out that Pope Benedict also mentioned that “each time you choose to do what is good, you give hope to the world, no matter what role you play and we offer all this to the Lord”.

Lozada said the groundbreaking will be followed by the development of the site, construction plan will commence, as well as for partners, collaborators and sponsors to start seeking assistance from individuals or groups who are willing to support the project.

It’s still a long way to completion but with God’s grace, this project will come to fruition, he said. (PNA)