EJK families back CBCP call: Stop killings, start healing

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drug suspect killed
Reuters file photo of the body of a drug suspect killed in what police said was a shoot-out.

Families affected by drug-related killings are taking action to support the call for action by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to “Stop the Killings! Start the Healing” on November 5, 2017

Rise Up for Rights and for Life, an alliance composed of human rights advocates together with families affected by drug-related extra-judicial killings, is mobilizing poor families perturbed by the so-called “war on drugs.”

“We wholeheartedly support broad and dynamic efforts to Stop the Killings and Start the Healing,” Fr. Gilbert Billena, O.Carm., spokesman of Rise Up for Life and for Rights said on Thursday.

The families affected by drug-related killings, Fr. Billena said, “have endured months of isolation and even faced the stigma of being labeled as criminals, hustlers, and generally unredeemable burdens on society.

“President Duterte’s attacks against the poor have continued to fuel unfair and nasty public disdain. Our experience bears out that the families affected by drug-related killings are as diverse and as human as any. Their desire to be embraced with compassion is real.”

Rise Up said the standard law enforcers’ alibi of the so-called “nanlaban” argument, or suspects having resisted or fought back against police operations “is not credible.”

Thousands have been extra-judicially killed “under Duterte’s national policy of eliminating the poor who are merely ‘suspected’ of anti-social or criminal behaviors.

“Many have been falsely accused or become outright victims of the police practice of producing target numbers in a given community or on a given day.

“Even more, the police forces have denied many people of their basic right to due process by also denying them their right to life.”

In preparation for participation in the November 5 event, which will be held in Metro Manila and around the country, Rise Up families are reaching out to other families and communities to stand with them in the call to Stop the Killings.

“For there to be healing, we must address the climate and culture of impunity in our nation, we must eradicate drug syndicates as well as the support structures of government politicians and state forces who protect them, and respect the dignity of the poor — some of whom have fallen prey to the allure and false promises of illegal drugs and drug trade.”