Church officials chide bounty offer for NPA rebels
Council of the Laity of the Philippines president Julieta Wasan and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo during a recent press conference to announce the Feb. 24 Walk for Life in Manila. CBCPNews
MANILA– A Catholic bishop, along with other church officials, denounced President Rodrigo Duterte’s reward offer to Lumads for every communist rebel killed, saying it promotes “the culture of violence” in the country.
Joke or not, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabllo said such statements not only promotes a culture that normalizes violence but also attacks the dignity of and sanctity of life
“Those statements, it somehow promotes a culture of violence. It encourages people to take the law into their own hands, which we are against,” he said in a recent press conference to announce the Walk for Life in Manila on Feb. 24.
In a speech in Davao City last Friday, Duterte offered to pay Lumads Php 20,000 bounty for every member of the New People’s Army (NPA) they kill.
Two days before, in a meeting with former communist insurgents in Malacañang, the President told soldiers to shoot female rebels “in the vagina”, drawing anger from human rights organizations and women’s groups.
Council of the Laity of the Philippines president Julieta Wasan denounced Duterte for encouraging state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict.
“We need justice for this and respect since they are also women,” she stressed.
Pabillo urged the President to promote respect of the law, instead of resorting to such statements.
“That is against the sacredness of life. There should be due process and NPA rebels should not just be killed off like that, because we have the courts,” the prelate added.
Tony Abuso, program coordinator of the bishops’ Commission on Indigenous Peoples, also warned that indigenous communities are more likely to suffer if Lumads are urged to kill. CBCPNews