Dump Duterte’s death policies
The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) welcomes the pastoral letter (“For I find no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies [Ez. 18:32]”) issued on Jan. 30, 2017, by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). In these times of confusion and fear, in the face of a state-orchestrated intimidation campaign and reign of terror, the statement is the kind of “voice in the wilderness” our lost compatriots need right now.
We agree with the CBCP: “The deep root of the drug problem and criminality is the poverty of the majority, the destruction of the family and corruption in society. The step we have to take is to overcome poverty, especially through the giving of permanent work and sufficient wages to workers.”
We have to confront the socioeconomic and cultural roots from which this malady stems, including the lack of decent income, job insecurity and the predatorial practices that individualistic capitalism engenders; and the unreformed, syndicated and corrupt police and law enforcement.
We, as militant workers from all different sectors of our society, are ourselves men and women with families. We are as adamant in protecting our own children from the drug menace. And we ourselves know, from shared experiences in our communities, that shaming and avoiding both drug victims and drug traders and denying them a second chance at reform or to turn around their lives would save no one in the end.
At the same time, we are as well aware of the need to uplift the quality of life of our members and our allies—and we are very, very wary of anyone who foists on us easy solutions to complex problems at the cost of our dearly held principles and freedoms.
We in Sentro see the value of transformative justice, as well as of rehabilitating even the criminal-minded.
With the pastoral letter, the CBCP seeks the awakening of the larger majority of our people
to the dangers of the government’s “death policies”—Oplan Tokhang, death penalty reimposition, lowering the age of criminal responsibility— policies that threaten to destroy our institutions and promise a “reign of peace,” but the kind of peace that reigns in graveyards littered with the skulls and bones of thousands of innocent victims.
We reiterate: Dump the death policies of the Duterte regime!
We may not always agree with the political views of religious groups, but in this instance we loudly call out, with utmost conviction, with the bishops: Let ours be a civilization built on peace, justice and love.
JOSUA MATA, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, 94 Sct. Delgado St., Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City
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