LIGAO CITY, Philippines – A Catholic bishop is calling on the youth to speak out online against the death penalty and the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country.
Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi addressed participants of the 8th Diocesan Youth Way of the Cross at Kawa-Kawa Hill in Ligao City, Albay on Saturday, March 11.
“Use your capacity to post on social media against extrajudicial killings, death penalty, and be online missionaries of God,” Baylon said.
From July 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017, there were 7,080 people killed in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, both from police operations and vigilante-style killings. From March 6 to 12 this year, or when the campaign was relaunched, 14 more deaths were recorded.
Baylon said the killings are not the solution to the country’s drug problem.
“We do not wish the sinners to die… because they [can be brought] back to the fold of law and of God. We are hoping that peace should reign again,” he said.
“To the youth, don’t welcome drugs because it will not help you, but destroy you. So, influence your friends not to take drugs,” he added. (READ: Church in Bulacan runs 27-year-old drug rehab program)
The death penalty, meanwhile, is one of the Duterte administration’s priority measures. It was recently approved by the House of Representatives on 3rd and final reading, but is expected to be challenged in the Senate.
Leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines have been vocal about opposing both the death penalty and extrajudicial killings.
The bishop conducted a dialogue with the youth instead of the usual homily during Mass to allow selected participants from various parishes to ask questions.
The 8th Diocesan Youth Way of the Cross had the theme “United in Faith, Restoring All Things in Christ”.
The event is held every year during the first week of the Lenten season, with devout Catholics from all over Albay trekking to Kawa-Kawa Hill. – Rappler.com
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