SAN CARLOS CITY, July 26, 2019–Church bells were set to toll across Negros Occidental to protest the spate of killings of farmers and human rights workers.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said the church bells in parishes, mission stations and religious houses would toll at 8pm starting on Sunday, July 28, “until the killings stop”.
The move come after seven people were killed in separate shooting incidents in the province in three days.
“Let the tolling of bells remind us that the senseless killings are inhuman,” Bishop Alminaza said in a pastoral appeal.
“Let the tolling of the church bells call us to a collective prayer, for us to beg God to touch the hearts of perpetrators, as we call on responsible government agencies to effectively address the series of deaths,” he said.
Human rights watchdog Defend Negros #Stop the Killings Network said it had recorded 74 victims of extrajudicial killings on Negros Island since January 2017.
The prelate urged local public officials to speak up “and join us in the cry to end the senseless killings”.
“Please speak up! Let not your silence add to the growing number of killings. Let not your silence embolden more the criminals,” he added.
Bishop Alminaza also appealed to police and the military to “act to promote peace, not act to instil fear”.
“Maintain peace, do not create violence! Act within the law, not beyond it,” he said. (CBCPNews)