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Thousands Joined ‘Walk for Life’ to Protest Extrajudicial Killings and Revival of Death Penalty in the Philippines

The ‘Walk for Life’ lasted for four hours at Luneta Park in Manila. Photo from the Facebook page of CBCP News

Thousands of Filipinos joined the ‘Walk for Life’ event organized by the Catholic Church in protest against the rising ‘culture of violence’ in the country.

The action was aimed against the proposed revival of the death penalty law, the implementation of the Reproductive Health law, the proposal to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility, and continuing drug-related extrajudicial killings.

The Philippines has a Catholic-dominated population. Catholic bishops wield strong influence over the politics of the country.

The ‘Walk for Life’ is seen by many analysts as the first major protest against the government’s bloody ‘war on drugs’. As of this writing, 7,000 have been killed in the past seven months after the government of President Rodrigo Duterte launched its aggressive campaign against illegal drugs. Police and other state forces are accused of committing extrajudicial killings in urban poor communities.

According to the organizers, more than 20,000 joined the ‘Walk for Life’ in the country’s premier national park in Manila. The people came from at least 21 Catholic dioceses in Luzon and from other Christian churches. The police claimed about 10,000 participated in the event. But the number could be higher if the ‘Walk for Life’ events in other provinces are included.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, who joined the event, urged the faithful to uphold life:

Let’s not stop walking for life. We should do it everyday. Nothing will happen if we will not walk for life everyday.

Non-violence does not mean it is passive. Active. But we believe that we cannot stop violence also by violence. If the response to violence is also violence, we double the violence. We shouldn’t be doubling or propagating violence. We should match it with non-violence.

Below are some images from the four-hour rally which started at 4:00 a.m.

Among the participants in the rally are relatives of victims of drug-related extrajudicial killings. Photo courtesy of Kathy Yamzon

Children rights advocates also joined the ‘Walk for Life’ to protest the government's proposal to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility. Photo from the Facebook page of Alan Lacon

‘Huwag kang papatay’ banner is Filipino phrase for ‘Don't Kill’

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