PARAÑAQUE CITY — It is not always that inmates willingly share their stories, but Roman Abari is an exception.
Poverty pushed the father of three to sell illegal drugs so he can free his family from misery and give them a better life.
“I thought selling prohibited drugs would elevate my family’s condition, but it caused them to suffer greatly,” Roman said in a trembling voice. He then broke down in tears as he recounted how he spent half of his life in prison.
His children could not bear the consequences of having a father behind jail bars. RR and John Louie decided to quit school, while Roman’s daughter Lucia became a mother at a very young age. All grew up without a fatherly figure to guide them.
“Growing up without Tatay was hard. Every single day we got bullied by our classmates,” John Louie opened.
RR shared, “As their second child, I was burdened to help Nanay in our financial needs. I’ve worked as a helper when I was 13 years old.”
Roman became dependent on drugs through the influence of his peers. He underwent rehabilitation for nine months, but then escaped the rehab facility.
“I escaped just to prove that I’m already drug-free, but it backfired. I became more hooked on drugs, and it was during that time I was imprisoned.”
In 2009, as he served his final year in Parañaque City Jail, Roman was given an opportunity to redeem himself. Operation Blessing brought in its Mobile Out-of-School Training (MOST) inside the detention center, where Roman and his fellow inmates signed up for a free course on refrigerator and air-con repair.
Today, Roman is already a free man and reunited with his family. The livelihood skills he learned from MOST are what helped him resume his interrupted life. He now puts his full effort to make up for the lost time.
“I thank God for giving me a second chance! I’m making the most out of it.”
Just as Roman’s ugly past didn’t spoil his future, a father’s unconditional love remains a strong, powerful force that will keep him going. Operation Blessing salutes all fathers for their unique kind of love. | by Bryan Arquiza, Operation Blessing
For more information on how to support Operation Blessing’s various projects, visit www.obphil.com or call their Manila office at 477-7802 to 04.