WITH the rise of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the country, Bishop Patricio Buzon of the Diocese of Bacolod echoed the sentiment of the Vatican that such incidents are “deeply troubling.”

Vatican's representative Monsignor Mauro Cionini condemned the killings at the United Nation headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland early this week when the country underwent a periodic review of its human rights record.

Buzon said Wednesday that the statement of the Vatican official just “confirms that we really have a problem with EJKs.”

Buzon said the church had been expressing over and over again about its concern on the increasing number of killings in the country, especially after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office last year.

He pointed out that the national government is turning a blind eye to the situation right now, which is “precisely why we’re rallying the people to wake up.”

Even with the rising number of cases in EJKs and human rights violations, Duterte remains to be a popular leader, he noted.

“It’s very ironic that he still has the confidence of the people and the whole world,” Buzon said.

He said the church has to intensify its campaign against the killings and human rights violations.

“We really have to educate our people. The church has been trying to do that, whether we succeed or not, that remains to be seen. That’s why we need the cooperation of our faithful and we start with those in the church,” Buzon said.

Cionini said the Vatican recognizes the many positive steps the country has taken in eliminating trafficking in persons cases, but has expressed concerned on the continuation of EJKs and enforced disappearances.