A group of Grade 11 students issued an appeal for national reconciliation as they appealed to the government to stop drug-related killings.
In their “plea for peace,” students of the PAREF Woodrose School in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, also pleaded on the police to ensure the safety of civilians and protect their rights “at all times.”
The group was led by Joey Abesamis, 16, Yanna Arcilla, 16, Nina Codero, 16, Guia Gutay, 16, Nat Roque, 15 and Rafaela Titular, 17.
“We, the youth, believe that amidst an environment of blame and intolerance, there must be a constant reminder of our humanity, which is slowly being stripped away from us. Illegal drugs did not only take away lives, but it has also taken peace and righteousness from our country,” they said in their letter of appeal.
“We wish to express our grief for the victims of illegal drugs and the ensuing casualties in the government’s war on the illegal drug trade which has proliferated in the country for the past years,” they said. “To Kian, we are sorry that you died in vain, without the right to due process, having known that authorities pointed a gun to your head without second thoughts. We are sorry your future died at the hands of those you aspired to become,”
they added, referring to 17-year-old Kian Loyd de los Santos, who was killed by policemen in Caloocan City.
The students appealed to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to “safeguard the people you swore to protect, as well as the human rights that each person deserves.”
“Join us in standing for what is right and aid us in our mission to bring back peace and justice to our nation,” they added.
The students called on the government to solve the country’s drug problem by peaceful means.
“What our countrymen need is not a force that will step on those who fail to comply with their demands, but a power that will sympathize with their shortcomings and invest in the personal rehabilitation,” the group said. “Let us be united in our effort to preserve our motherland from criminality and corruption that breeds illicit drugs.”
Police records showed that a total of 3,859 drug suspects have died in police operations from July 1, 2016 to September 15, 2017.
Since the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency have taken over the campaign against illegal drugs, the number of drug-related killings have considerable gone down. However, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he may again allow the PNP to lead the campaig if the PDEA fails in its mission top curb drug use.