NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur — More than 1,000 Catholic followers from more than 12 parishes and different religious organizations here joined a “Penitential Walk for Life” to protest extrajudicial killings in the country Saturday morning.
According to Fr. Wilmer Tria, one of the pro-life advocates from the Archdiocese of Caceres, they decided to conduct the walk in time for the start of the Holy Week.
He said the walk aims to raise awareness among Filipino Catholics to stand for what is right.
"Iba naman kasi yung moral judgment, alam mong mali pero hindi mo kayang ipahayag publicly na mali yun. Kaya kailangan ng mga ganitong mass demonstration...penitential walk ang ginawa nating form of expression para ipahayag natin yung moral conviction," he said.
(Moral judgement is different. You know something is wrong but you cannot publicly say that it is wrong. This is why we need these kinds of mass demonstatrion... We conducted a penitential walk to show our moral conviction.)
Banners protesting killings of suspected drug users and pushers were also displayed in some parishes under the Archdiocese of Caceres.
Participants, wearing shirts with slogans disapproving the killings, also paraded a 12-foot cross.
Some soldiers, policemen and former drug surrenderees and their families also joined the walk.
They converged at the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore to join a mass led by Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona.
The Catholic Church has repeatedly spoken out against alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs.
More than 7,000 people have died under the administration's bloody anti-narcotics campaign but the government is only taking responsibility for about 2,500 of said deaths.