Christian churches on drug war: ‘Stop the slaughter!’

Paterno Esmaquel II
Christian churches on drug war: ‘Stop the slaughter!’
'While we reiterate our support [for] the campaign against illegal drug use, we are appalled at the way such war on drugs is being conducted,' says the National Council of Churches in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) said it supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, but said the slaughter of drug suspects has to stop.

The NCCP, a huge 54-year-old group of Christian churches, issued this message on Monday, September 11, through a statement titled, “Stop the slaughter! End impunity!”

“While we reiterate our support [for] the campaign against illegal drug use, we are appalled at the way such war on drugs is being conducted. Young people and the poor have become vulnerable to impunity while suspected big-time drug syndicates have their day in court,” the NCCP said. 

“The slaughter has to stop. Impunity has to end. Let justice be meted out,” the council added.

The NCCP cited the gruesome deaths of at least 5 teenagers in less than a month:

“It is the kind of news every parent dreads when their children go missing: not only were they found dead but also the gruesome manner of their death. It is murder most foul,” the NCCP said. 

“The National Council of Churches in the Philippines condoles with the bereaved families of these young people. We pray that God’s holy comfort overshadow them now and in the days to come,” the group added.

Read the full text of the NCCP statement below:

The NCCP statement was signed by its chairperson Retired Justice Raoul Victorino; vice chairpersons Bishop Rodolfo Juan, Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz Duremdes, and Lissa Belle Brown; general secretary Reverend Rex Reyes Jr; and corporate treasurer Reynaldo Natividad.

‘Prayer for the Philippines’

Earlier, the NCCP also released the following prayer for the Philippines.

Read the full text of the NCCP prayer below:

The NCCP lists the following as its members:

  • Apostolic Catholic Church (founded in 1992)
  • Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (1935)
  • Episcopal Church in the Philippines (1901)
  • Iglesia Evangelica Metodista En Las Islas Filipinas (1909)
  • Iglesia Filipina Independiente (1902)
  • Iglesia Unida Ekyumenikal (1995)
  • Lutheran Church in the Philippines (1946)
  • The Salvation Army (1937)
  • United Church of Christ in the Philippines (1948)
  • The United Methodist Church (1898)

The group also includes the following as associate members:

  • Association of Christian Schools and Colleges
  • Consortium of Christian Organizations for Rural-Urban Development
  • Ecumenical Church Foundation
  • Lingap Pangkabataan
  • Kaisang Buhay Foundation
  • Manila Community Services
  • Philippine Bible Society
  • Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
  • Union Church of Manila

The NCCP in December 2016 already urged President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the killings under his watch. 

It is among the growing number of religious groups, including the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, that have called for an end to the drug war killings. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.