Parishes make silent protest against killings

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Students hold candles for the victims of extrajudicial killings and other crimes around the country during the "Light for Life" held outside the Colegio de San Juan De Letran in Intramuros, Manila, Aug. 31, 2016. (CBCPNews)

MANILA, Dec. 18, 2016— Several dioceses and parishes across the country hold a silent demonstration against the surge of killings linked to the government’s war on drugs.

The silent protest, according to the Caritas Philippines, is a show of support to calls for an end to the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said more parishes are joining the protest as more than 6,000 bodies have piled up since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in July.

“Killing of drug traffickers without due process, even in the name of a just cause, is morally unacceptable,” said the priest.

What is also alarming, he said, is that the poor are most vulnerable to loss of life and the violation and suppression of their rights.

“Unfortunately, reports show that majority of those killed are poor people residing in squatter areas,” said Gariguez.

“President Duterte’s claim of ensuring and protecting those who have less in life becomes merely lip service should the State continue to violate and disregard the rights of the poor,” he added.

In Iloilo, at least 97 parishes have placed streamers with messages calling for the “respect of the dignity of life.”

Jaro archdiocesan Social Action Center director Msgr. Meliton Oso said they are now in the process of creating a council that will oversee the drug rehabilitation program for drug surrenderees.

“We are looking at a therapeutic community-based rehabilitation program in coordination with the barangay local government units,” explained Oso.

Earlier, the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in Ilocos Sur also made a similar gesture to protest the spate extrajudicial killings.

Gariguez is urging other local Caritas networks to join in the protest and stand firmly behind the cause.

“We support and encourage all forms of campaigns by the Dioceses to stop the extra-judicial killings and other morally unacceptable acts of the government,” he said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews) 

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