The Catholic Church in the Philippines has condemned the violent killings of farmers and indigenous peoples who were alleged communist rebels in Panay Island.
The Capiz Archdiocesan Social Action Center (CASAC) said the killings were an example that could worsen the climate of fear and impunity in the country. “The incident raises our concern and thus, we vehemently condemn this act of violence,” the CASAC said in a statement. (Read: Local Church in Quezon Reiterates Opposition to Kaliwa Dam Project)
Nine people were killed during a simultaneous serving of search warrants in the villages of Tapaz, Capiz, and Calinog Iloilo on December 30. And much like all other incidents of the same nature, authorities alleged that the fatalities were rebels who fought back during the joint police and military operations to search for illegal firearms, ammunition, and explosives. (Read: 3 Human Rights Issues That Made Headlines in December)
“Sadly, some of the victims were farmers and members of the indigenous people’s tribe. Some are still missing and families are grieving,” the CASAC said, as it offered its condolences and prayers to the families of the victims.
Justice for Panay Island
The archdiocese also called on authorities to press on with their investigation so that justice will be served. “…Show us the genuine results founded on truth and justice,” it said. (Read: Recap: 5 Issues Faced by the PH Catholic Church in 2020)
In addition, the local church’s social action arm called on the public to remain steadfast with their commitment to the sanctity of life, justice, human dignity, and peace. “Together, we have to fight the root of this evil,” the CASAC added.
My Pope Philippines extends its most heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families. We are one in the calls for justice over the brutal killings of locals in Panay Island.