MANILA, Philippines – As the Catholic Church in the Philipppines prepares for a massive rally against killings on "Lord Heal Our Land Sunday", November 5, Malacañang called for unity and the Church's help in fighting the drug menace.
"We wish to build better rapport with the Catholic Church and seek the cooperation of its leaders, even as we call on our Catholic brethren to pro-actively help government in our anti-illegal drug campaign," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement Sunday.
Roque also said that the Duterte administration "does not – and will never – condone extrajudicial and vigilante killings."
"The President himself made a clear stance that any violation committed by the police during operations would be dealt with accordingly," he added.
Roque said that the government seeks the Church's cooperation, particularly on rehabilitation and treatment of drug dependents. (READ: Drug addiction is a health problem. Somebody please tell the President.)
"We are one in the true healing of this nation that has long been divided by politics. We must come together as one country and one people and help the government in building a nation free from drugs, criminality, and corruption," Roque said.
The Church-led march starts at 3 pm, beginning with a Mass at the historic EDSA Shrine in Ortigas. The rally will then move to the People Power Monument in Quezon City. (READ: Except for killings, all crimes drop in Duterte's 1st year)
It will start a 33-day period for the Catholic Church's "Start the Healing" campaign, aiming to complement the law enforcement-focused campaign of the government.
"The President has repeatedly mentioned that he allows constructive dissent and that he would even give protesters the democratic space and time to enjoy the rights to peacefully assemble, seek redress and air their grievances," Roque added. – Rappler.com