Nicodemus Youth group to lead prayers, light candles to stop killings; support Archbishop Soc Villegas’ call

CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. Photo courtesy of

MANILA – Young people from various communities under Nicodemus Youth held a prayer vigil at Mariana Park this October 31 in support of the call issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, for a mobilization on November 5 in EDSA calling for “Stop the Killings! Start the Healing!”

Nicodemus Youth spokesperson, Bro. Angelo Araja, said that “this action done by Nicodemus Youth is our affirmation of the pronouncement of Archbishop Soc Villegas’ call to defend life and stop the killings.”

In the course of the Duterte administration’s “War on Drugs”, it is clear that only the poor people, especially the urban poor, are the targets of the bloody operation. Thousands have died with victims each day, killed either by a “legitimate” police operation or by the infamous vigilante-type summary killings, resulting into a climate of fear in the communities.

The group said: “We affirm and embrace the call to ‘Stop the Killings! Start the Healing!’ recognizing that in these dark times, there is a need to unite all sectors in our society to stand up and call upon the Duterte Government to stop this madness and bloodshed and concentrate instead on the roots of drug abuse among the poor: widespread poverty, joblessness and social inequality.”

“We also stand in solidarity with the families of the victims of extrajudicial killings. For many months, they suffered much stigma of being labeled as “criminals” and “scums of the society”, said Bro. Araja.

The program consisted of celebrating a paraliturgy, calling for justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings under the “War on Drugs”. It will be followed by a candle-lighting and releasing of doves.  A mini-concert will follow after the program.

“Even though we are young, we hope that by this action, we will help amplify the call to ‘Stop the Killings! Start the Healing!’.  We pledge our commitment to continue to call for justice and to hold into accountability the perpetrators of this bloody campaign, both those in the illegal drug trade and those in government who violate the human rights of our nation’s citizens. Only by implementing meaningful reforms, such as land reform, national industrialization and comprehensive social services while actively pursuing the big drug lords, will we be able to truly resolve the drug problem in the country. And to attain this, we stand with the people of God in voicing out their cries for justice.” Araja said. []


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