THE Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) told the faithful through a pastoral letter read in all parishes and dioceses over the weekend that the solution to illegal drugs does not lie in the killing of suspected drug users and pushers.

The pastoral letter dated January 30 signed by Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan Socrates Villegas, president of CBCP, was translated in Hiligaynon.

The two-page document was read Sunday in masses at San Sebastian Cathedral which is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Bacolod.

The English version stated that "the Church will continue to speak against evil even as we acknowledge and repent of our own shortcomings.”

“We are concerned not only for those who have been killed. The situation of the families of those killed is also a cause for concern. Their lives have only become worse. An additional cause of concern is the reign of terror in many places of the poor. Many are killed not because of drugs. Those who kill them are not brought to account. An even greater cause of concern is the indifference of many to this kind of wrong. It is considered as normal, and, even worse, something that (according to them) needs to be done,” the pastoral letter said.

Fr. Felix Pasquin, rector of San Sebastian Parish, told Sun.Star Bacolod on Sunday that people should recognize the problem of illegal drugs, which needs to be stopped, but not through killings.

Pasquin said the Catholic church is in unity for the total eradication of illegal drugs in the society, but change must be guided by truth and justice and must be based on the seven teachings of God.

Life is sacred and a person no matter how bad he is, has always a chance to change by the grace of God, Pasquin said.

The pastoral letter also read that, "those of us who are leaders in the Church should strive to push forward or continue the programs that will uplift the poor like livelihood, education, and health programs."

"We will help drug addicts so that they may be healed and start a new life. We will stand in solidarity and care for those left behind by those who have been killed and for the victims of drug addicts. Let us renew our efforts to strengthen families," the pastoral letter further said.

Pasquin said the Catholic church wants to help the people who are into illegal drugs through rehabilitation, adding that the problem in drug addiction stemmed from the breakdown of family values, poverty, and corruption.

“We may have failed to address this problem, but let us continue to help one another to push for progress to alleviate poverty that causes drug problem in the society,” the priest added.