Holy Father Pope Francis encouraged a community-based anti-drug program run by Manila Archdiocese, Philippines, after a year of its launch. His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila conveyed that the Pontiff was excited about the program called Sanlakbay (One Journey), which has so far helped more than 100 dependents.

As reported by ucanews.com, His Lordship Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during the program’s first anniversary celebration on October 21,  remarked that “I told him (Pope Francis) about Sanlakbay and when he heard about it, with eyes sparkling he said, that’s the way to go” Further, His Eminence added, “Dug dependents should not be reduced to mere statistics, they are not numbers, they are human beings and they have a soul, rights, dreams and families.”

Sanlakbay program was launched in October last year as a response to drug-related killings following the government’s declaration of an “all-out-war” against illegal drugs. The program is parish based one that stresses the importance of community in helping drug-dependents and it involves spiritual formation, counseling, livelihood projects, skills formation training as well as sports, culture and the arts.