With profound sadness, I am deeply troubled by the escalating events of senseless vio-lence, killings, and horrible deaths disrupting the peace of our people in the island of Negros recently.
The number of persons brutally killed—nine (9) on 20 October 2018, six (6) on 27 December 2018, fourteen (14) on 30 March 2019, and then twenty-one (21) from July 18 up until July 27— evokes not only a heightened scale of shock but also a serious reason to be truly alarmed.
In solidarity with the other Bishops of Negros, we have issued today (28 July 2019) a Collegial Pastoral Statement to End the Killings in Negros Island, accompanied with an urgent appeal to prayer.
In consultation with our Provincial Government and recognizing the imperative need for our people to actively do our part to protect life and uphold justice and peace.
Let us come together to take stock of the spate of killings in our province, to mindfully listen to each other on how these have greatly affected us, to reflectively discern and galvanize possible intersectoral collaboration to support our local government in fulfilling its obligations, e.g., to conduct prompt investigation on these killings, to bring to justice the perpetrators and victims of these horrible crimes, and to prevent the recurrence of these violent inhumane acts.
Pope John Paul II, in the Document Evangelium Vitae, said, “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involved the ‘creative action of God’, and… no one, NO ONE can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being”. (EV, 53)
With the love and grace of God, and for the sake of our beloved Province, may we proactively join efforts in political vigilance, civic education, virtue formation and moral ascendancy towards the promotion of common good and the protection of the rights to a happy and peaceful life.
By: JULITO B. CORTES, D.D.
Bishop of Dumaguete