Editorial: Let there be light

·2 min read

“What is important is you have a good, wonderful record in heaven.”—Berta

Berta, for those who didn’t know was the omnipresent waif in our city streets and at times instant drama queen blurting out movie lines at the slighted piquing by pedestrians, had seen the light.

Lured into the program of Safe Haven Addiction Treatment and Recovery Village (SHATRV) in Talamban, Cebu City, by a caring and persistent vlogger, Berta or Roberto Plando Jr. has been cheerfully lucid in the last two months since his well-documented rescue from the streets. The process has since become viral on social media; he has been the happy star in his own reality show.

On early morning of Dec. 23, Berta, along with other recovering drug dependents and staff of Bai Foundation, the entity behind SHATRV, will be distributing Christmas gifts to his friends in the streets who weren’t as fortunate as he was.

Even then, the wonder and grace in all these is not that Berta, fished out of his rock-bottom state, has reclaimed his humanity. It is that his healing has been the handiwork of an entire village.

A concerned vlogger Anton Camilo doggedly trailed Plando Jr. for some good months, persisted into his otherwise inaccessible head and slowly earned his trust. The pursuit led to extended conversations, often ending up over lunch, and eventually a partnership with SHATRV, whose president Pastor Ronnie Delos Santos embraced if not only to prove, as he said in an interview, that no one can possibly give up on people.

Delos Santos himself has drawn a recovery program template in SHATRV, giving it a good mix of “love, faith and science.” Most, if not all, of SHATRV’s program coaches are themselves separate tales of persistence and recovery. Some of them have once shared the same fate as Plando Jr.’s before his program, unidentifiable rags in our city streets.

Delos Santos it was and his persistent staff down at SHATRV who had pooled their energies to help not just Plando Jr., but a host of others struggling to escape the dark they’re in.

The SHATRV, whose story of rescuing lost minds into a state of compus mentis, is worth telling, if only to demonstrate that there is no such depth that “love, faith and science” couldn’t possibly reach out their hands to.

As we inch closer to Christmas Day, and we hope that you, dear readers, bear in mind the hope that SHATRV demonstrates in the apparent healing of Plando Jr. No one can ever be beyond hope, the center says.

Into each of our lives, may we find some healing this Christmas, and yes, via a good mix of love, faith and science.