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Marching against culture of death

MANILA (UCAN): On February 16, thousands of Catholics took to the streets of several major cities across the Philippine for the third annual Walk for Life march to voice concerns over threats to life.
 
Simultaneous events, which started at four o’clock in the morning, were also held in the cities of Dagupan, Tarlac, Cebu, Ormoc and Cagayan de Oro.
 
Groups also gathered in the towns of Palo and Palompon in the province of Leyte.
 
Organisers called the event “an act of solidarity to uphold the dignity of life” that was prompted by “local and global developments.”
 
Among the issues raised were drug-related killings in the Philippines, the recent bombings of a church and a mosque in Mindanao, and the proposed re-imposition of the death penalty, among others.
 
“This walk is for the life of every person who has been a victim of a culture of death,” read a statement from the Council of the Laity and the Episcopal Commission on the Laity.
 
They called on people to “discern and expose deceptive ideologies and actions that seek to destroy life.”
 
The Church groups also condemned the influx of Chinese workers in the country, abortion “in all its forms,” the “systematic pillage” of natural resources, the “poor implementation” of genuine land reform, among other social issues.
 
“We cannot accept being governed by laws and policies that deceive and were crafted based on manipulated facts,” the statement read.
 
Without mentioning drug-related killings, the Church groups said they could not agree with the premise that solutions to social problems require that some should die.
 
In his homily during the Mass concluding the Walk for Life event in the Philippine capital of Manila, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said, “I hope that our society becomes a womb that gives life because the hands are generous, not greedy,” adding that voters should not support candidates who only think of themselves, not the people they are supposed to serve. 
 
Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, head of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, also warned against “candidates who have no convictions and do not want to stand for the truth in life.”
 
The bishop also called on the president, Rodrigo Duterte, who has been attacking Church leaders, not to take it out against bishops who speak out against his policies.
 
“What we are criticising is not his administration but some policies of his administration that are wrong,” Bishop Pabillo said.
 
“We have to use our religious authority, precisely to teach people what is right and wrong,” he added. “We are not criticising (Duterte), but what he is doing,” he stressed.
Cardinal Tagle, meanwhile, welcomed what he said was the growing number of young people who joined the march, which is in its third year.
 
“Let this be part of your growing up year and memory,” said the cardinal as he expressed hope that the experience be passed on to the next generation.
 
He urged people to commit themselves to nurturing life ... “especially a life of faith, life of decency, life of values.”

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