MANILA, Philippines – Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco announced on Friday, September 15, that he was creating a scholarship fund for children orphaned due to drug-related killings, as he urged his flock to bring their donations to their parishes.
In a pastoral exhortation issued Friday, September 15, Ongtioco said he was "creating a scholarship fund to finance the schooling of children left orphaned by the victims of this violence."
Ongtioco said the orphans "will be enrolled in the parochial schools" of the Diocese of Cubao.
"Education is our gift to help them secure a more promising future. You can bring your donation to your parishes or to the diocese," the Cubao bishop said.
The Diocese of Cubao has 6 parochial schools:
In his pastoral letter on Friday, Ongtioco also asked all the parishes in the Diocese of Cubao to toll their bells for the dead every day. This was scheduled nightly at 8 pm for 40 days, from September 23 to November 1 – a move similar to those in other dioceses, like the Archdiocese of Manila led by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.
The prelate urged his flock as well to light candles for the dead.
"We mourn. We pray. We implore the merciful heart of the Good Shepherd to heal and renew our land," Ongtioco said.
The Cubao bishop issued this statement after the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Tuesday, September 12, issued a statement saying, "In the name of God, stop the killings!"
Ongtioco, 68, leads a diocese of 1.35 million Catholics, covering the southern part of Quezon City. He issued this statement as the Catholic Church on Friday marked the annual memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.
At the time Ongtioco's statement was released, more than 14,100 people had been killed in both police operations and vigilante-style killings since President Rodrigo Duterte began his drug war in July 2016. (READ: Cardinal Tagle: 'We cannot govern the nation by killing') – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.