Manila (Agenzia Fides) - "Do not kill" is the title of the campaign launched by the Catholic Church in the Philippines to promote respect for human life and deplore the long trail of extrajudicial executions in the country. According to data of non-governmental organizations there have been more than 400 victims in recent months. Many believe new president Rodrigo Duterte directly or indirectly responsible, given his emphasis on security and on "respect for law and order" that pushes the police - and teams of so-called "vigilantes" - to eliminate common criminals, especially linked to drug dealing.
Launched in recent weeks in Manila, the campaign aims to bring together the families of victims of extrajudicial executions. Fr. Atilano Fajardo, one of the promoters, invited families to participate in a Mass, to pray and to join an awareness for the respect of human dignity.
The Bishops' Conference of the Philippines in recent weeks issued an official appeal, signed by the President, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, especially addressed to the police, in which he urges them to "preserve humanity", in dealing with criminals and drug dealers.
"One can shoot to kill on the sole ground of self-defense or defense of others", it says, and "killing a suspect is not morally justifiable", even if he tries to escape, the text continues.
The message also deplores the practice of "getting (money) reward to kill another person" and reiterates that "it is the moral duty of every Christian to report all forms of 'vigilantism' "where one sees gangs of vigilantes easily kill, without respect for the rule of law, and with complete impunity. The text calls for "justice and legality" while respecting the dignity of every human person. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 05/08/2016)