The Philippine bishops’ conference president has lamented “the slow erosion of Filipino values” as the Southeast Asian archipelago presses on with its war on drugs that has killed thousands.
Local media reported Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan
put out a message on Monday called “Confused and Sad Yet Hopeful.”
He said Filipino values of being godly, compassionate to others and
patriotic are being replaced by “cuss words, orchestrated lies and
vulgarity never heard before.”
Archbishop Villegas expressed shame and concern over local and
international news reports on the Philippines and the remarks of the
“I am afraid that our children and youth will catch and embrace these
twisted, upside-down values,” said the archbishop. “I dread the thought
they might carry these errors into the next generation and render
tomorrow bleak and gloomy.”
Archbishop Villegas also expressed sadness over the mounting death toll from the pursuit of drug pushers and addicts.
In the spring, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ran and won on a
platform of eliminating criminals and ending corruption, and he enjoined
citizens to also kill criminals.
Since he was sworn into office June 30, more than 3,000 people have
been reportedly killed at the hands of police and the public. A
significant number of the killings were of alleged suspects whom police
said resisted arrest. Many have come from the poorest parts of the
Manila capital region.
In a speech October 4 at the Philippine army headquarters in
metropolitan Manila, Duterte rallied troops on their “fight against
terrorism” in the country’s restive South and urged a continued war on
drugs in the country of more than 100 million.
He reiterated a vehement
warning that he would kill drug syndicates, punctuating the statement
with “son of a whore!”
On September 29, Duterte likened his pursuit of the country’s three
million drug addicts to Hitler’s massacre of six million Jews, saying he
would be “happy to slaughter” the addicts. The remarks sparked outrage
in the international community.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder called the statement “revolting.”
In a speech at a national festival that aired live two days later, Duterte apologised.
“I would like to make it [clear] now, here and now that there was
never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million
Jews murdered by the Germans,” he said. “I apologise deeply and
profoundly to the Jewish community.”
Archbishop Villegas said the drug war has left him “in endless grief”
and that “the well is running dry, and I can no longer give a word of
condolence to the bereaved families, because I also need to be assured
even a bit that things will get better and not become worse even more.”
The prelate said he cries as he prays alone after months of worry,
confusion and sadness over where the country is headed.
But he said he
was hopeful and urged the faithful to pray for their country.
Archbishop Villegas encouraged them to pray the Rosary daily, attend
daily Mass and go to Confession at least once a month to bring healing
to the Philippines.