Pubdate: Mon, 29 Aug 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines)
Copyright: 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer
Author: Cielito Almazan
Note: This piece was signed by Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM, Sr. Regina 
Kuizon, RGS, Fr. Eduardo Apungan, CMF, Sr. Julie Saguibo, SFIC, Fr. 
Paul Anthony Bicomong, SDB, Sr. Niceta Vargas, OSA, Br. Jose Mari 
Jimenez FSC, Sr. Marife Leslie Luna, LGC, Fr. Copernicus Perez Jr., 
CSsR, Sr. Gertrude Neri, TDM, Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ, and Sr. Josephine Mata.


WE, THE members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in 
the Philippines, acknowledge our active role as a visible force and 
prophetic voice in social life, in working for the common good. A 
role embraced by the Lord Jesus himself when he quoted the prophet 
Isaiah as he began his ministry: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 
because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has 
sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the 
blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year 
acceptable to the Lord." (Luke 4:18 19)

It is this role we exercise when we look around at what has been 
happening in our country these past two months-a consistent surge in 
the number of extrajudicial killings (EJKs), now nearing 2,000, and 
counting, mostly related to the drug problem, some perpetrated in the 
name of vigilante "justice," all without warrant of arrest or proof of guilt.

In the midst of this alarming situation, as religious and consecrated 
persons, we make our stand. We express our full support for the 
government's determined crusade against the very serious problem of 
illegal drugs in our country. We admire the leadership President 
Duterte has assumed in this campaign and the determination of the 
people under him in working to rid our society of such menace. The 
drug menace, indeed, is an intricate web of corruption and patronage 
that feeds on the insatiable greed and desire of people for money and profit.

Nevertheless, we are alarmed at the continued extrajudicial killings 
which seem to go unchecked, without trial or investigation.

We are alarmed at the silence of the government, groups, and majority 
of the people in the face of these killings. Ubi boni tacent malum 
prosperat. Evil prospers where good men are silent. Is this lack of 
public outcry a tacit approval of what is happening? Is it fear that 
prevents people from speaking out? Whatever the reason, this problem, 
as it remains unchecked, leads to a culture of impunity.

As religious persons consecrated in life, we believe in the 
sacredness of human life because its Author is God, and no one has 
the right to take the life of anyone except God. We also believe that 
in governance, the wheels of justice should be allowed to take their 
full course, following proper procedure, within the bounds of the law.

We demand that the concerned government agencies continue 
apprehending those involved in drug trafficking but avoid 
extrajudicial killings, and pursue and apprehend vigilantes who carry 
out such illegal actions.

As men and women of consecrated life, we commit ourselves:

1. To recognize the drug problem as a complex and deeply emotional 
issue that needs to be addressed holistically, with great 
understanding and compassion for both victim and perpetrator, for the 
culture of death dehumanizes us all.

2. To call our communities, parishes, apostolates and educational 
institutions to study, reflect on and act on these unabated killings.

3. To care for the violated, the orphaned and the widowed through 
counseling, sharing the Word of God and the Gospel values to them.

4. To stand with people of other faiths and beliefs in the 
inviolability and sacredness of life; in the Year of Mercy, to let 
our humanity and compassion reach those whose human dignity has been 
diminished by the evil influence of illegal drugs.

5. To recognize and support the need for reforms in the criminal 
justice system and the need for the rehabilitation of drug 
dependents; we need to weed out the corrupt in our security forces, 
in the prosecution service as well as in the judiciary.

6. To hold Masses and prayer vigils for peace and justice in the 
affected communities.

7. To let the bells toll in solidarity with the poor and in upholding 
the sacredness of life.

Pope Francis has repeatedly urged the leaders of the Church to go to 
the frontiers: "A Church which 'goes forth' is a Church whose doors 
are open." Through this pastoral statement, we heed the Pope's word 
and move to the poor victims in the peripheries.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom