United Methodists in the Philippines are among the religious groups expressing alarm over the rising death toll in the “war on drugs” instituted by that nation’s president.
A Sept. 2 statement from the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, of which United Methodist Bishop Rodolfo Juan of the Manila area is a vice chairperson, recognized “the buoyed hopes of the people” over President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to eradicate corruption and make reforms but added, “the killings of alleged drug pushers must stop.”
Earlier, on Aug. 31, United Methodists joined in a metro-wide candle lighting in front of St. Domingo Church in Quezon City against extrajudicial killings. The gathering was sponsored by the Promotion of Church Peoples’ Response, the Association of Women in Theology and the Ecumenical Women’s Forum.
In a unity manifesto, “Stop the Killings,” the sponsoring groups expressed alarm that nearly 1,000 people had been killed in a month’s time. “We unite to demand an end to the killings in the name of the ‘war on drugs,’” the manifesto said. “Justice and due process must be upheld. Human rights must by no means be violated.
“We demand to investigate and punish the masterminds of the illegal drug trade (the big drug lords, their protectors in police, military and government) and the perpetrators of the extrajudicial killings.”