By Roy Lagarde
A Catholic bishop expressed dismay over President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed failure to put a halt to the spate of drug-related killings in the country.
Bishop Joey Baylon of Legazpi said their appeal fell on ‘deaf ears’ as killings continue and justice remains elusive for the victims of summary executions.
Almost a year ago, the diocese sent an open letter to Duterte, asking him to stop extrajudicial killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“It seems our appeal fell on deaf ears and stony hearts,” Baylon said in a pastoral letter read in all Sunday Masses in the diocese.
He urged lay faithful to demand accountability and transparency from government leaders and police authorities particularly in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
While they support the government’s campaign against criminality, he said that people must “speak out and mobilize” when human rights are trampled upon and the rule of law set aside.
The bishop then called for a strong promotion of anti-drug abuse awareness in the parishes and schools, including a stronger Church’s presence in the social media.
Baylon invited all stakeholders but the church, he said, plays a special role in the process.
“We shall teach the young to shun illegal drugs, and also to uphold the life and dignity of the human person,” he said.
He also encouraged parishes and laypeople to reach out to the families affected by killings and to those suffering from drug dependence and addiction.
In November 2016, the diocese started “Harong Paglaom” (House of Hope), a community-based drug rehabilitation program in collaboration with local government units, the police, and other sectors of society. CBCPNews