WITH the spate of killings resulting to the administration’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs, the Church remains steadfast on its position that killings are never acceptable.
Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma has reiterated his call to stop extrajudicial killings among the alleged drug personalities.
"Save the user, not kill them, and also save the pusher too. Killing should not in any way be justified," Ledesma said during the Archdiocese-led multisectoral meeting to address the implications of the government’s "Oplan Tokhang" (knock and plead) and initiate interventions for suspected drug personalities held on Friday, July 29.
"We condemn the killings because it is not only against the law, but also to the Constitution and morality. Killing without due process is certainly condemnable… We should all respect dignity of human life," the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese Archbishop said during the discussion.
Ledesma called on all concerned groups to come and work together to solve the drug problem.
"Hopefully, we can make a collective stand with what's happening here to do away the killings," he added.
Ledesma together with city officials said the multisectoral talk was initiated to create a proper program for alleged drug personalities who intend to reform their lifestyle.
Ledesma disclosed that the Catholic parishes are willing to open their parish halls where intervention programs such as seminars shared by experts will be held.
"These drug respondents need help and are willing to be helped, so in all means, the Church will do all its capacity to give them a chance at changing themselves," Ledesma emphasized.
He said the Department of Health has committed to conduct screening and monitor the drug personalities who submitted themselves to authorities while the City Social Welfare and Development Office has offered a family therapy for the drug users.
"The screening and monitor is to really make sure that those alleged drug users and pushers are indeed valid drug dealers and prove na wala lang sila naapil lang sa listahan," Ledesma said.
50,000 self-confessed drug users/pushers
According to the Police Regional Office in Northern Mindanao, there are about 50,000 suspected drug personalities who submitted to police and took their oath to stop their involvement in illegal drugs.
Ledesma said they will not only help those that are still given the second chance, but also extend it to persons who are already in jail for drug-related cases.