BONTOC, Mountain Province – A representative of the Catholic Church here announced the church’s support to “Tokhang” for as long as due process and respect to human life is observed in all stages of the campaign. “Every life is precious. Every life is important. We support this campaign, I will say it again, if we see to it that due process is done to all and respect to human life must be a priority,” a representative of the church declared during a simultaneous nationwide launching of Tokhang last Saturday at the Provincial Plaza.
Father Michael Tokoyen, Santa Rita Parish priest, who gave the message stressed that human life is sacred and that no person has the right to take it away. “God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end. No one can, under any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy an innocent human being. We do not own people; we do not own their life; and we are not God. We do not have the right, no matter how powerful we are, to take another’s life just because we want to,,” the prepared statement partially reads.
The priest recounted the various deaths in the country related to the drive against illegal drugs despite the bloodless ideals of the government campaign. “”Again, we are relaunching this activity that caused the death of so many people who may be users, pushers or victims of the operations. I believe “Tokhang” is a peaceful way of dealing with the abusers of drugs. May it be implemented as such,” Tokoyen emphasized.
The priest likewise bared the church’s willingness to work hand in hand with all stakeholders to fight illegal drugs in the province particularly the users whom he said were lured into using illegal drugs because of curiosity, family problems, and peer pressure.
Provincial Police Director Allen Ocden, through a representative, also gave his full weight to the drug menace saying that he will do all what it takes to solve the problem which has affected some people in the various communities of the province.
Provincial Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. likewise promised his cooperation. Most specifically, he said he will raise public awareness on illegal drugs through information campaigns so that people could make an informed decision regarding the ills of drugs use.
Lacwasan also said he has caused the funding of a crash course for people who will be involved in “Tokhang” so that they will be given the needed material data on how to implement it without necessarily violating the rights of people.
Last Wednesday, all sectors in the province converged at the Multi-purpose Building to launch the Montanyosa Addiction Treatment and General Operations (MATAGO) and sign a Memorandum of Agreement spelling out their responsibilities in their joint mission of keeping the province drug-free.
By Angel Baybay