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“I want to create a positive chain.” This is what Mr. Robert G. Tiangco replied when a NEDA Region 3 Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) 2016 validator asked him on his motivation to volunteer.

On 24 February 2017, Mr. Tiangco was awarded as one of the nine regional SOV 2016 awardees by NEDA Region III Director Severino “Ver” C. Santos in a ceremony held at Bahay at Yaman Ni San Martin de Porres, Inc. (BYSMDP, Inc.) in Bustos, Bulacan. PNVSCA was represented by Rizalene Velacruz and Sheena Alcala.

Photo: Courtesy of Damascus Foundation, Inc.
Mr. Tiangco was recognized for co-founding and administering the Damascus Foundation, Inc., which serves as a rehabilitation center for drug addicts and substance abusers. The awardee is no stranger to drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation, as he himself is a reformed drug addict. Mr. Tiangco related his experience of being under the influence of illegal drugs for almost 20 years, and how doing a favor for the parents of his friend transformed him. Mr. Tiangco shared that there was a time in his life when he was an active member of an anti-drug abuse foundation while he was still using drugs when no one is watching. Since Mr. Tiangco is known as an advocate to stop drug abuse, the parents of his friend asked him to deal with their son’s drug addiction. With this, he started reprimanding his drug addict friend. Unknown to Mr. Tiangco, his own words would soon rebound on him. This life-changing moment made Mr. Tiangco strive in quitting his addiction by undergoing a drug detoxification program. On his way to full recovery, Mr. Tiangco looked for an affordable rehabilitation center and went to the House of Galilee in Bulacan, where he crossed paths with Fr. Florentino “Boyet” S. Concepcion. Fr. Boyet encouraged him to help in establishing the Damascus Foundation, Inc.
Photo: Courtesy of Damascus Foundation, Inc.
Since the founding of the Damascus Foundation, Inc. in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan in January 1997, Mr. Tiangco continuously sustains the Foundation with the help of his sponsors and his own pocket money. Aside from funding, Mr. Tiangco also initiated the ”12 Steps Approach” in the rehabilitation and reformation of drug addicts, which includes series of self-help group programs, counseling sessions, group dynamics, lectures, highlights of his own life’s transformation, and volunteer involvement of clients to be of help to other clients. It is evident that Mr. Tiangco’s understanding of the substance abusers helped a lot in the formation of the Foundation.
Photo: Courtesy of The 700 Club Asia "Damascus Foundation – Reaching out to Drug Addicts"
For 20 years now, Mr. Tiangco and his colleagues have already aided in the transformation of about 750 drug addicts in the Damascus Foundation’s rehabilitation and reformation center. With the help of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the local government unit of Bulacan, the Foundation broadened its services that now include scholarship assistance, community feeding program, and livelihood and micro-financing projects.

To create a positive chain reaction, Mr. Tiangco hopes that the recipients of his kindness will pass on his good deeds to others.

For more information about the Damascus Foundation, Inc., you may visit their website at damascus.org.ph.

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