Church lauds gov’t efforts, not means, to combat illegal drugs

Fr. Jerome Secillano.

Fr. Jerome Secillano. Photo from

Church leaders praise the efforts of the government to fight the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country but do not approve of the method used.

“The Church has always emphasized that it is totally against drugs,” said Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the permanent committee on public affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

“We even laud efforts to combat its proliferation but not entirely the method because human rights are possibly violated,” he added.

Government duty

During the recent Vatican conference, with the theme “Drugs and Addictions: An Obstacle to Integral Human Development,” Pope Francis said that it was the duty of governments to lead the fight against perpetrators of illegal drugs.

Malacañang welcomed the Pope’s remarks, saying it was a boost to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Did the Pope say that it is alright to kill drug users and peddlers?” Secillano asked.

“Going after drug traffickers has always been one of the best solutions to the proliferation of drugs. But it is mostly the small-time addicts and pushers who are getting the brunt of government efforts to eradicate it,” he said.

CBCP vice president and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said he agreed with the Pope’s call to jail drug dealers and save the victims.

Freedom for slavery

“Here’s what Pope Francis said: ‘Drug addiction is an open wound in our society whose victims are ensnared into exchanging their freedom for slavery.’ He thus called for combatting the production and distribution of drugs worldwide, and urged governments to courageously undertake the fight against those who deal in death,” David said.

“In this situation, the Church feels the urgency of putting the human person back at the center of the socioeconomic-cultural discourse; a humanism founded on the Gospel of Mercy,” he added.

The Catholic Church has been vocal against the administration’s bloody war on drugs, which has killed thousands, mostly smalltime drug pushers and users, since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed power.

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