Negros bishops hit gov’t inaction, public apathy over killings

Church leaders from Negros Island have expressed alarm over the spate of suspected extrajudicial killings in the country amid the government’s bloody war on drugs.

In a pastoral statement released on Tuesday, Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes, and Kabankalan Diocesan Administrator Rolando Nueva hit the supposed government inaction to bring the perpetrators of killings to justice and public apathy over the piling body count related to the administration’s antinarcotics campaign.

“While we commend the government for its political will and determination in addressing the terrible drug problem menace that has long plagued our country, we strongly urge that this be done within the bounds of the law and with full respect for human rights,” the statement read.

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“Most of all, the seeming apathy and indifference of the general public in the face of these extrajudicial killings—we are deeply concerned that this alarming insensitivity could lead to a deadening conscience and the dawning of a culture of death,” it added.

The bishops also called out the Duterte administration’s “incendiary statements which tend to encourage the killing of drug addicts.”

READ: Church: Thou shall not kill

As of Oct. 10, the Inquirer’s “Kill List” notes 1,294 drug-related deaths since June 30 or after President Rodrigo Duterte took office.

The church leaders also urged the faithful to cooperate and collaborate with the government in preventing the proliferation of drugs and in the rehabilitation of drug dependents.

“At the same time, as pastors of our flock, we commit ourselves and our dioceses to pray constantly that our country may be effectively rid of the drug menace, but in a manner that is just and lawful; to intensify our work of evangelization particularly in the area of forming consciences and promoting the culture of life, starting in our families,” the bishops said. CDG

READ: Amid drug war deaths, hope, life emerge

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