Second chances

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Born on January 02, 1969 in Polomolok, South Cotabato and eldest of 6 siblings, Ronnie Delos Santos’ life was surrounded by comfort and privilege as both his parents were gainfully employed at Dole Philippines. Raised by busy parents, he grew up in the care of house helpers and in the company of relatives.

He was sexually molested at 7, and was physically abused to impose discipline. Still, he was privileged to complete his elementary and secondary education in private schools (Notre Dame) ran by Marist brothers and Dominican sisters.

Due to lack of parental presence and authority inside the home caused by work and careers, influenced by immediate community environment, he began experimenting with psycho-active substances, did it with friends and cousins who were also the ones who introduced drugs, alcohol, and gambling to the young 13 year old, it is no wonder that he took addiction like fish to water!

He became a truant, escaped from classes, a delinquent that he almost did not graduate from high school. He also became an expert in lying, stealing, and manipulating people around him. His life ran out of control and he dropped out of college after 3 years at the University of San Agustin, Iloilo taking up BSME.

He lost his family, his honor, his integrity, and almost lost his sanity and life. He was so impoverished in body and in spirit. His one great regret was that he was under the influence of drugs when his mother died of cancer after 3 years of battling the disease. Her death and his guilt became his turning point: he was full of remorse and was repentant. At one time he decided to apply for religious life but was rejected.

However a neighbor brought him to Cebu where he was introduced to a Christian Community where he enrolled in a Seminary (Cebu Bible College), a working student doing construction work at day and a bible student at night from 1991-1994. God has changed his life so completely that nothing was never the same again,

He began to see things through different eyes and from different perspective. He made a resolve to make every second of his life count. He completed his Bachelor in Theology degree in 1995, Magna Cum Laude. He went home to Mindanao and in 1996 continued his studies, took up BSE major in Guidance and Counseling at the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, Cotabato. Having been busy with studies, campus leadership, and his ministry, he soon learned to forget his past deeds.

On December 23, 1997 he married Charito Laña, had two daughters now aged 19 and 18. With his newfound second chance at life and self worth as a person, he became student government president of USM in SY 1999-2000, became a member of the university Board of Regents and graduated in 2000 as Most Outstanding Student of the year for academic and leadership excellence. He was hired and employed by the university in 2001 and taught guidance and counseling and other education subjects. He resigned in 2007 and moved to Cebu where he serves as a Pastor of New Beginnings a church of Christ for all, working and walking along with God carrying the message of hope to the broken, wounded, hurting, and lonely.

He now serves as President/CEO of BAI (Battle Against Ignorance) Foundation, Inc., School Director of Talamban Christian School with students from pre-school to high school, and the Center Director of Safe Haven Recovery House, a treatment center for people with substance use disorder (SUDs). He is blest to be conferred an educational certification as Addiction Recovery Specialist by Asia Metropolitan University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is currently pursuing Executive Masters in Addiction Studies with AMU and is about to complete Masters in Guidance and Counseling at Cebu Normal University. He currently serves with Narcotics Anonymous Community, hosting weekly meetings for recovering drug dependents at church and school facilities. He has found his lifelong advocacy related to education and drug rehabilitation.