VARIOUS groups on Saturday converged in preparation for Mass on Sunday, November 5, which will spearhead a 33-day period of Church and cultural activities for the “continued healing of the nation” amid a spate of alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) tied to the Duterte administration’s war against drugs.
Representatives from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Tindig Pilipinas, along with religious group Layko, youth groups Kaya Natin and Youth Resist, told reporters on Saturday that a Holy Mass dubbed as “Lord Heal our Land Sunday” at the EDSA Shrine would be held at 3:00 pm.
The Mass will be followed by a short procession of the image of Our Lady of Fatima to the People Power Monument at around 5:00 pm.
“Ang ating bayan ay maraming pinagdaanan at marami pang pagsubok na hinaharap. Magdasal tayo at magsama-sama upang maghilom (Our country is facing a lot of problems and more challenges are expected in the future. Let us pray and unite for healing),” said De La Salle Philippines President Br. Armin Luistro.
The CBCP said in a statement that people from all walks of life “are welcome to join the procession.”
A candle-lighting ceremony will be held at the People Power Monument before the representatives and leaders of different sectors participate in a common prayer “for the healing of the nation.”
Former Civil Service Commission chief and Tindig Pilipinas member Karina Constantino-David stressed that the event would not be political.
“Wala pong magiging political speeches sa event na ito. Ang buong dalawa’t kalahating oras ay magiging cultural. Magkakaroon ng kantahan, dula, at spoken word sa People Power Monument upang mai-address ang iba’t-ibang issues sa pamamagitan ng kultura (No political speeches will be delivered in this event. The whole two-and-a-half hours will be cultural. Songs, plays, and spoken word will be performed at the People Power Monument to address different issues through cultural performances),” she said.
Tindig Pilipinas recently called on President Rodrigo Duterte to put a stop to drug-related killings in its September launch.
Luistro slammed the derogatory terms “dilawan” and “destabilizers” ascribed to critics of the government’s alleged “abusive measures.”
“As the nation moves forward, we need to acknowledge that we have different responses. Our responsaes are not necessarily laban sa gobyerno (against the government),” he said.
Youth leaders expressed support for the upcoming activity.
“Ang youth arm ay nandito dahil naniniwala kami na dapat magkaisa ang lahat ng tao anuman ang pinaniniwalaan (The youth arm are present because we believe that people even with different beliefs should come together),” said Bea Carag of Kaya Natin youth group.
“Young people need to go from ‘mobile’ to ‘mobilized.’ We are willing to go outside of our computer screens and into the streets to practice our rights to democracy,” said Shamah Bilangis of Youth Resist.
Some 250 family members of alleged victims of EJKs will attend the program on Sunday.
“Healing only happens when you go through a period of reflection—embracing those truths however painful they are. Thirteen thousand people have been killed violently…First step is to embrace that truth and to come up with actions so you can restore the memories of the victims,” Luistro said.