14 October 2017, Sto. Nino Parish, Suba and Don Bosco Youth Center, Pasil, Cebu City – Around thirty (30) recovering drug dependents (RDDs) joined in the 47th foundation anniversary celebration of Sto. Nino Parish, Suba, Cebu City. They were together with some generous and passionate individuals who have been actively volunteering in the LABANG Program (“Cross Over” in English) – a contracted word from the local phrase Lahat Bangon — which means “Stand Up/ Be counted.” They wore their white group shirt with joy and pride as they attended the Holy Mass presided by the parish priest, Fr. Lamberto Paradiang Jr., SDB. Later, despite the rain, they marched with the rest of the parishioners towards Don Bosco Youth Center, Pasil, Cebu City for a cultural show. The celebration marked the culmination of their efforts to regain their self-confidence and acceptance from their community.
15 October 2017, Suba Barangay Hall, Cebu City – SALVO members celebrated this year’s World Missions Sunday together with recovering drug dependents (RDDs) in Suba Barangay Hall, Cebu City. The activity started with a Holy Mass presided by Fr. Brian Butanas, SDB followed by a little get-together cultural interaction. Volunteer-teachers from Gothong National High school also participated the event. In his welcome remarks, Fr. Arvin Abatayo, SDB, the SALVO coordinator, affirmed the invaluable efforts of the volunteers to reach out to RDD. The SALVO re-confirmed their commitment to help RDDs in their effort to change and live a dignified and fruitful life despite their past mistakes and shortcomings.
10-12 November 2017, Don Bosco Retreat House, Mantalongon, Dalaguete, Cebu – A special retreat was given to the twenty-nine (29) recovering drug dependents of LABANG-Suba held at the Don Bosco Retreat House, Mantalongon, Cebu City from November 10-12, 2017. The three (3)-day activity was filled with serenity, prayer meditations and reflections, aimed at providing them the opportunity to create a deeper connection with their own selves.
Among those who volunteered in organizing and facilitating the retreat were Mercy Garong, Salesian Family member, Mindex Lopez, DB-CLAY staff, Bryan Escobedo and Taichi Miranda, both SALVO members, Margarita Rio Diongzon and Yolanda Marikit, both LABANG Program coordinators. Salesian accompaniment was also felt by everyone through the presence of Fr. Arvin Abatayo, SDB.
18 November 2017, Don Bosco Youth Center, Pasil, Cebu – A series of activities was organized on November 18, 2017 for the RDDs of LABANG-Suba. The activity had threefold key objectives: 1) To establish and enhance camaraderie among the RDDs and to help them refrain from using drugs through sports; 2) To attract and encourage more RDDs in the community to get involved in the LABANG Program and; 3) To promote awareness in the neighborhood that the Parish and LGUs are working together in order to prevent and stop drug addiction.
(Contributor: Margarita Rio Dingzon, Photos by FIS Commission on MIssions)