Keeping priests from booze, cigarettes

Nov 22, 2003 09:52 AM EST

CEBU -- Prayers and meditation may not be enough to make healthy priests. They, too, need to sweat it out at the gym.

A new committee of the Archdiocese of Cebu urged clergymen to implement a resolution approved in the first Archdiocesan Priests' Congress held last year, which seeks to keep them away from illnesses and vices.

The resolution also hopes to strengthen camaraderie among priests in the archdiocese.

The Personal-Relational Resolution (PR) 8 states that a program should be designed to promote the physical well-being and health of the priests, Msgr. Roberto Alesna said.

The resolution prescribes health care activities for priests, which include sports, a physical fitness program, dietary tips and strict compliance on the annual executive checkup for priests.

Alesna, chairman of the diocesan special committee on the Clergy Wellness Program, said that hopefully, priests will be encouraged to engage more in sports and less in vices, like smoking and drinking.

The committee launched the Second Conference of the Inter-District Cebu Clergy Basketball League last Monday night, which is one of the activities included in the implementation of PR 8.

"Rather than drink or smoke, they can come to play basketball, which can also be a form of exercise for our priests. Also perhaps they can watch the games of their fellow priests instead of going out for entertainment elsewhere," Alesna said.

Some 60 priests joined the opening games at the Capitol Parish gym last Monday, while other priests filled the bleachers to cheer for their teams.

In a reproductive health forum of the Commission on Population held last Wednesday, Dr. Corazon Raymundo said that sports and other physical activities can also help men control sexual urges.

The resolution also calls for the strict implementation of the 15-day annual vacation leave and the once-a-week day off for priests.

"No matter how much work they have to do in their parishes, they did need to have some days off from work to break the routine and to have a new environment once in a while to re-energize them," Alesna added.

After all activities shall have been implemented, the committee will evaluate whether there has been a reduced hospitalization of priests.

They will also establish a health index or a database of the priests' health profile, which will contain records of their illnesses, hospitalizations and health condition.

Aside from basketball, priests also have regular games of lawn and table tennis, billiards, bowling and swimming.

The Chinese nationals were arrested inside the suspects were nabbed inside the compound at No. 8 Gertrudes Street in Barangay Mambugan.

The Chinese nationals and a Filipino were reportedly caught in the act of "cooking" the illegal drug.

President Arroyo personally inspected the laboratory and lauded anti-drug operatives who raided the biggest shabu haul so far in the country.

"I hope that this very, very big bust would help dry up the supply and scare those who are engaged in this illegal business," she said.

"I would like to congratulate the PDEA headed by Chairman Jun Avenido, and the Anti-Drug Task Force headed by General Aglipay for conducting the biggest drug bust since we launched our relentless anti-drug campaign."

"Three months of surveillance paid off in the arrest of four drug lords who will be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law. We will put these four away and we will not stop until we get all the other marauders of our society," Arroyo said.

Earlier this month, five suspected members of a drug syndicate, including four Chinese nationals, were arrested and over P1 billion worth of shabu were confiscated in Valenzuela City after police agents raided a large warehouse inside an industrial enclave in Barangay Mapulang Lupa.

The Philippines has been stepping up its anti-drug campaign amid warnings and official statistics showing the country has become a major transshipment point of drugs in the region.

"We will cut down the drug problem through the full range of activities, from keen intelligence to cleaning the streets of pushers, to rehabilitating the users," the President said.

"Once more this is triumph for the community and the law enforcement units, working in tandem, and in secret, to pursue justice. The illegal drug lab was capable of churning out a billion peso worth of shabu a week and we can imagine the destruction that came in its wake in terms of crime, addiction and anguish of victims and their families. This drug bust brings us relief like the slaying the other day of the top kidnapper in the country in Bataan," Arroyo said.

"I urge the entire criminal justice system to gather around this achievement to capture more drug makers and dealers; prosecute them and speedily try them; and rehabilitate users through community-backed mechanisms. The people are behind us and the momentum will take us farther down the road to a drug free society in the near future," she added

issue on 22 Nov, 223

by Sun Star