“Respect the sanctity of life.”
This was the appeal of nearly a hundred devotees and pro-life advocates who joined Tuesday’s prayer rally calling for an end to the violence and killings in the government’s war against drugs.
“You also have your own family. What if it happens to your loved ones, will you be happy?” said Dr. Rene Bullecer, Human Life International (HLI) Philippines director, who helped organize the prayer rally at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.
He also called out to the citizens, who think that killing lawbreakers like drug pushers and peddlers, is justifiable in the name of war on drugs.
“Those people who give these kind of comments are those who have lost their sense of sin. They do not see the wrongness in the deed,” said Bullecer.
Bullecer reminded those individuals who claimed lives of alleged lawbreakers that government officials and their policies are only passing and that final judgment on sins will be in front of the Creator.
“Killing those who are allegedly involved in illegal activities, whether true or not, is like giving them to eternal damnation because as you kill them, you are taking away their chance to repent and change their lives,” said Bullecer.
“We do not condemn anybody. We are just praying for everybody,” Bullecer added.
Aside from expressing of opposition against incessant killings, the prayer rally was also done as a protest to the proposed House Bill No. 6027, seeking to legalize divorce in the country.
“Divorce is against the constitution and against the teachings of the church. Instead of strengthening the family, it will weaken its foundations,” said Bullecer.
The prayer rally was also conducted for petitions for world peace amidst the threat of war between United states and North Korea.
“We may only be few, but I hope our united prayers will be enough to convey our petitions to God.” said Bullecer.
On Monday, members of cause-oriented militant groups like the Anakbayan UP-Cebu, Artista para sa Nationalista Demokratiko at Rebolusyonaryong Sining-Sugbu (Andres) and the Akbayan Youth also held protest rallies in Colon Street in downtown Cebu City to condemn the killing of 17-year-old
Kian Loyd Delos Santos during a police operation against illegal drugs in Caloocan City.
Kian’s killing has sparked outrage and galvanized cause-oriented groups, the church and even legislators to call for a stop to the killings and to find justice for the youth’s death.
Patrick Kyle Autida, Andres head, said on Monday that the killing of Kian Delos Santos is a manifestation of the culture of impunity, where police officials kill and are not held accountable.
Autida added that Kian’s case could not be just an isolated one, citing that there are other children who became casualties of the war on drugs.
Myles Albasin, Anakbayan UP-Cebu chairperson, said Kian is the 31st in their list of youth victims below 30 years old, who were killed in the war on drugs operations.
The youngest among the 31 is a five-year-old girl.
Albasin also called for the administration to address more pressing problems in the society like lack of education and poverty as these problems are likely the root cause of the presence of illegal drugs in communities.
Autida appealed for the government to look into causes of problems rather than solving the problem through violence.
“Basta naay problema, ilang isulbad kay patay lang nga patay, nganong di nila tan-awn kung asa gikan o unsay rason nganong nahitabo na,” Autida said.
(Their solution to a problem is to kill and kill. Why don’t they look at the cause or the reason on why this problem happened instead.)
Justine Balane, Akbayan Youth Cebu coordinator, challenged the government to end the country’s drug problem using proper means — prosecuting the drug pushers and rehabilitating the users.
Balane also called for fair treatment on individuals linked to the drug trade, whether they are high profile or just ordinary citizens.