The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has condemned the killing of activists in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal on Sunday.
In a statement, the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace (NASSA) said at least nine activists were killed after the country’s military and police conducted dawn raids against civil rights groups in the four provinces on March 7.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the ‘Bloody Sunday’ initiated by the members of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army,” CBCP-NASSA Chairman Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said.
“We denounce the unnecessary use of force and violence in the government’s quest for peace, which only victimizes the poor and the vulnerable,” he added.
CBCP NASSA appealed to President Duterte to choose rule of law over militarization in solving the country’s insurgency and terrorism problems.
It also called on the Supreme Court to fast-track the discussions and review of the Anti-Terror Law, and the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the series of killings impacted by red-tagging incidents.
As a Church, CBCP-NASSA vowed to “always protect the sanctity of life of everyone, and defend the rights of the poor and the vulnerable, while also ensuring transparency, accountability and collaboration in all our programs and activities.”