MANILA - As the clock struck 8 on Thursday night, the bells of the historic Manila Cathedral, as well as those of other churches in the country, were tolled simultaneously in remembrance of the victims of alleged extra-judicial killings and those who were slain under the government's crackdown against illegal drugs.
This, after Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle ordered the restoration of the tradition of "De Profundis" throughout the Archdiocese of Manila.
The practice is named after the first words of Psalm 130 ("De Profundis" which translates to "Out of the depths"), a prayer for the dead which accompanies the tolling of the bells in the evening.
"The tolling of the church bells in the evening to pray for the dead is an old Filipino custom that has almost disappeared. Now is the right time to revive it," the cardinal said.
The ringing of the bells went on for five minutes followed by the carillon bells which played the popular Filipino Catholic hymn "Pananagutan" (Responsibility), composed by the late Rev. Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros.
The Church is hoping that the tolling of the bells will remind the Filipino people that violence and killings will never solve the country's problems and that every person's life is precious.
Other major ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the country started reviving the practice of De Profundis since August, including the Archdiocese of Lingayen led by CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas and Archdiocese of Jaro led by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo.
In its latest statement, the CBCP expressed outrage over the killings allegedly committed under the government's drug war.
The prelates cited the killings of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz, and 14-year-old Reynaldo De Guzman in separate incidents.
Meanwhile, the government has repeatedly denied it was behind the killings of drug suspects. President Rodrigo Duterte has also promised justice for the recent teen deaths.