Priest: Organized communities ‘more protected’ vs EJKs

Priest: Organized communities ‘more protected’ vs EJKs

Fr. Luciano Felloni speaking in an open forum during the Diocese of Novaliches meeting with Pax Christi International, Nov. 29, 2017. MINNIE AGDEPPA

MANILA – A local parish priest, known for advocating community-based drug rehabilitation, believes organized communities are actually a deterrent to extra-judicial killings (EJKs).

“I think there is a direct connection between an organized community being more protected than an [un]organized community,” said Argentinian-born Fr. Luciano Felloni in an open forum during the Diocese of Novaliches meeting with Pax Christi International on Nov. 29.

Asked by Pax Christi International’s Pierre Thompson about non-violent campaigns against EJKs, the priest said that his parish took on a “pro-active approach” to the urgent issue aside from implementing Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle’s appeal to parish priests to ring church bells every 8:00 p.m.

‘Self-protection’

“So beside[s] this lighting a candle or ringing a bell campaign, we try to engage pro-actively the community through self-protection,” added Felloni, parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Camarin, C.C., one of the areas in the Diocese of Novaliches most affected by EJKs.

“We also organized our communities through our Basic Ecclesial Communities to have a watch–sort of watch the members in our community,” he explained.

According to Felloni, they observed a pattern wherein “one or two days before a person will be killed, someone will be doing a surveillance in the area”. “Surveillance” came to mean a strange person going around the area or someone on a motorcycle being seen in the neighborhood.

He said that when this occurs, this is “the time the police will be informed and therefore [we] make actions to stop the killing from happening.”

Stronger ties with PNP

“The moment we launched this program and started working with extra-judicial killings families, the killings dropped consistently in our area,” he revealed. “If not yet zero, but it dropped consistently.”

The priest explained that in the beginning, there were one to two persons being killed every night. With their community-watch program in place, the killings have stopped for several months now.

Felloni also cited his parish’s efforts in creating strong ties with the barangay, with the municipal government, and with the Philippine National Police as additional factors that contributed to the decline. CBCPNews