HUNDREDS of Roman Catholic devotees, many of them members of various religious organizations, joined the nationwide conduct of the “Walk for Life” held on Saturday morning, February 24.

Organized by the Commission on Lay Ecclesial Movement of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro (Clemoaco), Social Action Center (SAC), and the Sangguniang Layko ng Pilipinas, the event gathered more than 500 members of Couples for Christ, Catholic Women’s League, Knights of Columbus, among others.

Carl Cabaraban, the SAC coordinator of the archdiocese, said they want to send a strong message to the Duterte government that they are upholding human dignity and opposing the massive killings of suspected drug personalities in the country.

Aside from the extrajudicial killings (EJKs), Cabaraban said they are also protesting the proposed legislations pending in Congress, mainly, on divorce, abortion, same-sex marriage, and the lowering of the age of criminal liability to nine years old, calling them “anti-life” bills.

“The Walk for Life is a message that the church is not blind and deaf to its mandate to stir the moral consciousness of the people. This is our manifestation that we are against these issues, which are trampling on human rights,” Cabaraban said on the sidelines of the march.

“We are calling on the Duterte administration to reflect and see if these proposed bills should be supported and approved,” he said.

In a message, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said that while the church supports the government’s anti- drug campaign, they are against the rampant cases of EJKs and the rising culture of impunity.

“This kind of solution (EJKs) will create more problems. While we are trying to solve one problem, we are creating another problem,” Ledesma said.

“It is the Roman Catholic Church’s hope”, he added, “for the government to promote due process, an improvement in the country’s justice system and adequate penal measures against drug traffickers”.

Ledesma has also reiterated the church’s stand on death penalty.

“We are also pro-life in terms [in that] we want to register our opposition to the death penalty because, in the past and present, it is not a sufficient deterrent to serious crimes,” he said.

The most important aspect in dealing with crimes, Ledesma said, is to put premium on the restoration of human relationships and not to resort to death penalty, “because we are all for the dignity of human


Jun Waga, an officer of the Couples for Christ, said the group is strongly opposing “any action, any measure, any legislation that destroys life.”

After the Walk for Life, Cabaraban said a series of forums will be held purposely to stir the sentiment of the people, especially the Roman Catholics, by discussing those issues as frequently as they can so that it will not be forgotten. (Jigger J. Jerusalem)