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TOKHANG | Philippine News Agency


By Jun Ledesma

GENERAL Ronald “Bato” del Rosa is less heard these days despite his senatorial bid but he makes it big in the arena of lexicon. Remember his slogan “TOKHANG”? It is now the most popular word for year 2018 and it might land in the Oxford Dictionary. If that will be the basis of what is to come in the mid-year elections, General Bato dela Rosa is on his way to become a big winner in the senate race.

At St. Pauls Church on Sunday, the officiating priest liberally used “tokhang” in his sermon to add substance to the story of a blind man named Bartimaeus who pleaded loudly and begged Jesus to heal him. “Master, I want to see”.

The moment the good Father mentioned “tokhang” and Bato dela Rosa heads turned and were all ears to the priest who explained the relevance of the word to the story of the blind beggar who regained his sight as he pleaded to Jesus on his way to Calvary. The blind man was like Bato dela Rosa who knocks (Toktok) on the doors of drug users and peddlers and appeal (Hangyo) to them to surrender so that they can be rehabilitated.

The homily, which cites the parallelism of the mysterious healing of the blind man to the government rehabilitation campaign against drug dependents, personally caught me by surprise. This is the first time since President Duterte waged a nationwide campaign against drugs that I heard a sober and very accurate account of the relevance of the government’s anti-drug campaign. His message reaches out to those who are still into drugs as there are now plenty of drug rehabilitation centers. He observed quiet accurately that thousands had indeed availed of the free rehabilitation regimen but is saddened by those who surrendered but later left the centers. They did so, according to the good Father, so that they will not be arrested in case they go back to their trade. He also took note of some abuses committed by a few law enforcers but this should not discouraged those who want to take advantage of the rehab program. It’s his way of “Tokhang” and I truly admire him for his way of knocking on the hearts and minds of the faithful and plead to believe in the Lord’s mercy.

It is refreshing to hear a homily like that this Sunday. At the end of his sermon, he concluded that government and the Church can work together in solving crimes and problems of the country.

About the Columnist

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Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.