Catholic church in Philippines decries ‘reign of terror’ caused by President Rodrigo...

Catholic church in Philippines decries ‘reign of terror’ caused by President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs

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Sermons at Catholic churches across the Philippines this weekend will denounce President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs for creating a “reign of terror” among the poor.

Priests will read out a letter signed by the country’s bishops that says killing people is not the answer to trafficking of illegal drugs, voicing concern about the indifference shown by many to the bloodshed.

More than 7,600 deaths have been linked to Mr Duterte’s extreme crackdown on drug dealers and users since he became President last June. Around 2,500 of these took place in shootouts during raids and sting operations, police said.

The letter from the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines said: “An additional cause of concern is the reign of terror in many places of the poor,” according to Reuters.

“Many are killed not because of drugs. Those who kill them are not brought to account.“

Both the government and police have strenuously denied that extrajudicial killings have taken place during the campaigns. The President’s office offered no immediate comment on the bishops’ letter.

Catholic church in Philippines decries ‘reign of terror’ caused by President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs

‘Many are killed not because of drugs. Those who kill them are not brought to account

Sermons at Catholic churches across the Philippines this weekend will denounce President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs for creating a “reign of terror” among the poor.

Priests will read out a letter signed by the country’s bishops that says killing people is not the answer to trafficking of illegal drugs, voicing concern about the indifference shown by many to the bloodshed.

More than 7,600 deaths have been linked to Mr Duterte’s extreme crackdown on drug dealers and users since he became President last June. Around 2,500 of these took place in shootouts during raids and sting operations, police said.

The letter from the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines said: “An additional cause of concern is the reign of terror in many places of the poor,” according to Reuters.

“Many are killed not because of drugs. Those who kill them are not brought to account.“

Both the government and police have strenuously denied that extrajudicial killings have taken place during the campaigns. The President’s office offered no immediate comment on the bishops’ letter.

Rodrigo Duterte says he ‘doesn’t give a s*** about human rights’ as 3,500 killed in war on drugs

The address, which will begin to be made at Mass services this evening, will not mention Mr Duterte by name, but will urge “elected politicians to serve the common good of the people and not their own interests” and call for steps to tackle “rogue policemen and corrupt judges”.

Nearly 80 per cent of the Philippines’ 100 million people are Catholic and the majority still practise their faith with enthusiasm.

While that support has historically given the Church significant political and social clout, it has been hesitant to criticise the outspoken President’s current war on drugs.

In interviews last year, more than a dozen clergymen said they were uncertain how to take a stand against the killings given the popular support Mr Duterte’s campaign enjoyed. Some said challenging him could be fraught with danger.

But in a recent speech, Broderick Pabillo, the Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, urged Catholics to speak out against the bloodshed.

“Can we now keep our mouths shut when more than 6,000 of our poor people are being killed on the mere pretext of drug.

source: The INDEPENDENT

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