/ 12 March 2021

THE CATHOLIC  Educational Association of the Philippines on Thursday condemned the killing of nine individuals in Calabarzon region on March 7.

The group said that it was puzzling how the police operations turned violent when police officers were supposed to observe maximum tolerance.

“The CEAP vehemently condemns the killing of the nine unarmed individuals. We call on relevant government agencies — the Department of Justice, the PNP, AFP and the CHR — to conduct investigations on this matter and make sure those responsible for the killing are held accountable to law of the land,” it said.

The Philippine National Police claimed that armed encounters took place, but some groups said those killed were unarmed.

The organization of Catholic schools said that the killings were the consequence of a series of policies and pronouncements from various government agencies “to violate fundamental human rights in the name of cracking down on the communist insurgency.”

“We appeal again to the government to not pursue the path of force and violence. Instead, address the roots of the problem of insurgency like poverty, marginalization, and the denial of basic human needs,” the group said.

“The promotion of a culture of death must be vehemently condemned for this it not the way of the gospel, this not the way of our Lord Jesus Christ,” it added.

The police operations took place just days after President Rodrigo Duterte directed the police and soldiers to shoot armed rebels.

CEAP said that the “growing culture of death and normalization of killings” must not be tolerated.

“We cannot allow children to grow up with the thinking that life is not sacred,” the group added.

“In this time of Lent, may we continue to pray for a stop in the killings, and may the Prince of Peace comfort the grieving hearts of the victims of this tragedy,” CEAP added.