A Catholic bishop said the church and its people must continue to speak out against killings and other forms of human rights abuses.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos urged the faithful to reflect on these “despotic killings” and become human rights defenders.
“We must continue to speak because silence kills,” Alminaza said. “We must not be afraid to continue doing what is right.”
The bishop made the call in a statement released Aug. 17 for the culmination of the “Stop the Killings Week” in Negros Occidental province.
Tuesday also marked one year since the brutal killing in Bacolod City of Zara Alvarez, a human rights activist and staff of the group Church Workers Solidarity (CWS).
The diocese concluded the weeklong “days of action to stop killings” by ringing church bells.
According to the bishop, there are about 123 cases of unsolved “extrajudicial killings” recorded in Negros since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed power.
This year alone, 17 more people were murdered in Negros between January to May, he added.
“More than two years since we started, we continue to ring the church bells, since even until today, the killings have not stopped,” Alminaza said.