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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Philippine bishops’ leader ‘in endless grief’ over drug war

The Philippine bishops’ conference president has lamented “the slow erosion of Filipino values” as the Southeast Asian archipelago presses on with its war on drugs that has killed thousands.

Local media reported the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, Socrates Villegas, put out a message on 2nd October called Confused and Sad Yet Hopeful. He said Filipino values of being godly, compassionate to others and patriotic are being replaced by “cuss words, orchestrated lies and vulgarity never heard before.”

Archbishop Villegas expressed shame and concern over local and international news reports on the Philippines and the remarks of the country’s leaders.

“I am afraid that our children and youth will catch and embrace these twisted, upside-down values,” said the archbishop. “I dread the thought they might carry these errors into the next generation and render tomorrow bleak and gloomy.”

Archbishop Villegas also expressed sadness over the mounting death toll from the pursuit of drug pushers and addicts.

In the spring, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ran and won on a platform of eliminating criminals and ending corruption, and he enjoined citizens to also kill criminals. Since he was sworn into office on 30th June, more than 3,000 people have been reportedly killed at the hands of police and the public. A significant number of the killings were of alleged suspects whom police said resisted arrest. Many have come from the poorest parts of the Manila capital region.

Picture: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reviews honour guards upon his arrival at the Villamor air base in Manila. (CNS photo/Romeo Ranoco, Reuters).