NAVAL, Biliran (PIA) – “Change is coming” is a famous line nowadays popularized by no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his campaign and even used as guidepost this early of his presidency.
But for Ian Ang Caneja, there is truth to the President’s statement as change is really coming in his life after almost 28 years of living with illegal drugs.
“It’s 360 degrees turn-around” Caneja confessed while talking with him in his newly opened sari-sari store and barbecue stand beside his house, one night.
Caneja who turned 40 years old on July 2 this year happily admitted that there’s a significant change in his life even in just a few days he totally abandoned “the hell” he lived with illegal drugs.
“I gained not only few kilos in weight but more circle of friends,” he recounted just a few days after he finally cut his ties with shabu.
Caneja, who had been put behind bars twice for violations of RA 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act, said that he already started to jog early in the morning such that his acquaintances before and even close associates in illegal drugs practice would greet him and say “that’s good”.
He recalled how illegal drugs ruined his life starting at age 12 where he already engaged in illegal drugs.
“I was in prison for two years in my first offense of using illegal drugs and another three years in my second offense,” Caneja recounted how hard life was, while serving his sentence in jail.
However, he thanked his family for their unwavering support, his Mom Rosalyn and Dad Tootsie, sister Coleen, and relatives while he was still inside the prison cell of the Biliran provincial jail.
He also narrated his fear at first on the Oplan Tokhang of the Philippine National Police (PNP) where policemen have knocked the door of his residence on June 30 this year prompting him to evade from police authorities as his previous experience already taught him a lesson.
But finally, he voluntarily surrendered together with 21 other personalities involved in illegal drug activities in Naval town, the first batch, to police authorities in Naval in July 1, this year.
From his negative past, he now veers towards a positive direction in his life with the able help of his Mom who gave him financial assistance to start a sari-sari store including a barbecue stand.
At first his Mom was in doubt of his intention and only gave him a little amount of money to purchase goods he wanted to sell in his little store that he opened in July 18, he vividly recalled.
“I remember only buying initially a P90-worth of packed sugar and salt being sold at P1 a piece in my store” Caneja said, with a little giggle as he gained only P10.
He recalled how happy he was to gain even only P1 on the goods he sold but at least it was earned through legal means.
That night of July 20 where we talked for almost an hour was a big revelation for a person hiding in the shadow of death for almost three decades has unmasked himself and showed the other side of himself, a reformed man willing to bury his past and much willing to make a change of his future.
“Maybe it’s true that life begins at 40 and here I am embracing change,” he jokingly said.
He realized how important God is, in his life where he just set aside for so long a time as he mentioned about going back in the loving arms of God several times in our conversation.
For Ian Ang Caneja, change has come. (FJ/rvictoria/PIA Biliran)