Bishops: ‘Culture of death’ dawning
BACOLOD CITY—The heads of the four dioceses of the Catholic Church in the Negros Island Region on Thursday issued a joint pastoral statement calling for an end to mounting cases of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the country which they said is leading to a “culture of death.”
“While we commend the government for its political will and determination in addressing the terrible drug menace that has long plagued our country, we strongly urge that this be done within the bounds of law and with full respect for human rights,” the joint statement said.
The release of the statement, signed by Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes and Fr. Rolando Nueva, administrator of the Diocese of Kabankalan, was timed with the Church’s celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.
“We, the bishops of Bacolod, Dumaguete and San Carlos and the Diocesan Administrator of Kabankalan, are deeply saddened and greatly disturbed…by the ever increasing spate of extrajudicial killings in connection with the antidrug campaign,” they said.
In this city, a prayer rally was also held against EJKs and the drug menace in front of San Sebastian Cathedral last night.
The Church leaders said they found government action against EJKs to be “inadequate.”
They said statements from top government officials, including President Duterte, that tend to encourage the killings of drug suspects saddened them.
Also lamentable, they said, is the seeming public apathy toward the killings.
“We are deeply concerned that this alarming insensitivity could lead to a deadening of conscience and the dawning of a culture of death,” the pastoral letter said.
The bishops said the war on drugs should be carried out without violating the law and human rights.
“Human life is sacred,” said the pastoral letter.
“The commandment, ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill,’ has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and guilty,” the bishops said.