Bishop hits govt’s ‘obsession’ with military action

Bishop hits govt’s ‘obsession’ with military action

By CBCP News

March 11, 2021

Manila, Philippines

The government’s ‘obsession’ with military action to address the country’s problems has resulted in violence and human rights violations, a Catholic bishop said.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila criticized the government’s “unnecessary use of force” to achieve its goal, especially against activists.

“Seemingly, the government is obsessed with using a military solution to address the problems of our country,” Pabillo said.

“It disregards the reason for its existence—to protect the dignity and rights of its citizens towards solidarity and common good,” he said.

The same approach, according to him, is being used to fight the illegal drugs trade that claimed thousands of lives but “did not stop” the problem.

“It even saw the entry of billions of pesos worth of drugs, with no heads rolling,” Pabillo said.

“It is the same scheme being used in arresting the activists, thus, extra-judicial killing continues,” he added.

The prelate made the comment after the bloody police operations that killed nine activists in four provinces near Manila last Sunday.

The raids took place just two days after President Rodrigo Duterte told security forces to “kill” armed communist rebels, without regard for human rights.

Speaking for the Church Labor Conference where he is co-chairperson, Pabillo said the government’s military approach always victimizes the poor and those who fight for them.

“Targeting and killing activists only exacerbates the injustices committed against the poor,” he said.

The bishop said the church supports efforts to end insurgency but the government “should start by addressing its root causes, such as poverty, corruption and injustice”.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said that those killed and arrested are not rebels but activists who fought for land, just wages and human rights.

The prelate, who also heads the Church People and Workers Solidarity, believes the spate of killings and arrests are results of “relentless red-tagging” of activists.

The church leaders also appealed to the Supreme Court to “fast-track” the hearings on the Anti-Terror Law “and render its ruling on its unconstitutionality”.

Alminaza said they have observed that state agents “are more emboldened to launch killing sprees” after the signing of the controversial law.

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