CHURCH leaders on Tuesday renewed calls for an end to killings linked to the drug war as millions of people thronged cemeteries to remember the dead.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody campaign to rid the country of criminals has been a feature of this year’s All Saints’ Day, with some people using the annual commemoration to poke fun at the brutal crackdown.
Some retailers in Manila, apparently inspired by Duterte’s clampdown that has killed more than 4,000 people, used fake cadavers and police crime tape to promote hand sanitizing products.
A house in the capital had a grisly display of polystyrene foam in the shape of bodies wrapped in garbage bags and packing tape, with a sign reading “Do not follow them” — resembling the way victims of the drug war are often found.
An official at the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines repeated the church’s call to fight drugs “the right and proper way.”
“We encourage the faithful to pray for the souls of the victims of extrajudicial killings,” Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary at its public affairs office, said.
“We continue our call to stop the killings and to look for the perpetrators.”
Archbishop Angel Lagdameo from the central province of Iloilo also issued a statement, saying the church “cannot accept in conscience extrajudicial killings.”
“Each time a person is killed without due process, a part of us dies also. Our humanity is diminished and our dignity is cheapened,” Lagdameo wrote on Sunday.
The National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) said this year’s observance of All Saint’s Day in the region was generally peaceful.
NCRPO Director Chief Supt. Oscar Abayalde said although millions of families thronged cemeteries, the crowds were orderly.
An estimated 1.5 million people flocked to the Manila North Cemetery under the watchful eyes of the police. This year’s figure is lower than the 1.7 million people who visited their dead in the sprawling cemetery.