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Negros Oriental for proposed drug rehab center
« on: January 13, 2017, 03:26:53 PM »
Fazenda de Esperanza founders visit Negros Oriental for proposed drug rehab center

DUMAGUETE CITY, Jan. 12 (PNA) -- The founders of the Fazenda de Esperanza have expressed hope the proposed establishment of a drug rehabilitation center in Negros Oriental initiated by the Diocese of Dumaguete will be successful with the aid of government and the private sector.

Its founders, Fr. Hans Stapel, O.F.M. and Nelson Giovanelli, and Richardson Pereira da Silva, a Brazilian missionary doing volunteer work at the Masbate facility, in an interview Thursday said there is still much work to be done but they have already come up with a design for the project.

The visit of the Fazenda de Esperanza or Farm of Hope officials, comes months after the Diocese of Dumaguete, headed by Bishop Julito Cortes, had announced the donation of a 14-hectare property in Silab, Amlan town for the purpose, in response to the need for a rehabilitation facility for drug users who had voluntarily surrendered to authorities under Project Double Barrel.

Fazenda de Esperanza was founded in Sao Paolo, Brazil and had established its extension community in Masbate and another one in Naga, both in the Philippines.

Teaming up with Fazenda de Esperanza, the Diocese of Dumaguete, through its project coordinator, Fr. Ben Eric Lozada, the president of the Dumaguete clergy, hopes to adopt Fazenda’s mission of rehabilitating drug addicts through a non-conventional approach without the use of medication to treat withdrawal symptoms.

Nelson Giovannelli, a Brazilian and one of the founders of Fazenda, said he started with some priests at a Farm of Hope in Sao Paolo, Brazil to take in boys and girls that were suffering from drug addiction.

Giovannelli, who has been with Fazenda for 33 years, said that upon the invitation of Bishop Cortes and Fr. Lozada, they came here to look at the proposed site in Amlan where they would want to open and build another community in the Philippines.

The Fazenda team visited the site in Amlan on Wednesday, but they have discovered that the area is not feasible for the construction of buildings and other structures as it sits on a steep slope.

But Fr. Lozada said that with the aid of Amlan Mayor Gino dela Cruz and Vice Mayor Bentham dela Cruz, they are negotiating with owners of adjacent properties to sell their lands to extend the project site and allow for the construction of buildings for the rehabilitation facility.

Lozada said one landowner of more than one hectare of property met with him on Thursday to start negotiations.

Fr. Lozada is appealing to generous donors and sponsors to help the diocese procure the needed lands so that the drug rehabilitation project can move on.

Fazenda de Esperanza’s way of living consists mainly of the community of drug addicts being rehabilitated through engaging in farm work and other agriculture-related activities rather than being supervised by medical professionals.

Fr. Heinz, a Franciscan priest assigned in Brazil for almost 40 years and a co-founder of Fazenda de Esperanza, who spoke in Portuguese, said they will send people who will run the facility in Negros Oriental once it is established.

He said there are three important aspects in the Fazenda’s program of rehabilitating drug users.

First is the spirituality aspect, where those undergoing rehabilitation will put into practice everyday the gospel, said Fr. Heinz through his interpreter, Richardson Pereira da Silva.

Secondly would be the farm work that they will engage in at the facility, such as raising livestock, and third, the relationship in the community life.

Each house in the rehabilitation center is designed to accommodate 40 people who are encouraged to live as one family, he said.

The therapy of the program will last for one year, which is enough for them to apply a new lifestyle and a new mentality, Fr. Heinz went on to say.

Fr. Heinz said he is hoping the local communities, local governments, church and other sectors will pool together their resources to make this project a success. (PNA)

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