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Anti-graft activists also ’work for peace’

Priest calls corruption the principle cause of violence in the Philippines

  • Rick R. Flores, Davao City
  • Philippines
  • January 26, 2011
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A Jesuit priest in the southern Philippine city of Davao said activists are working for peace, after calling graft the “root cause” of violence in the country.

“Corruption is violence and demoralizes the basic fibers of democracy,” said Father Albert Alejo, who leads an anti-corruption drive dubbed Ehem!.

“Those who campaign against corruption are also the ones working for peace,” Father Alejo told journalists this week at a forum to remember the “Maguindanao massacre.”

At least 57 people, including 32 journalists, were murdered in Maguindanao province on Nov. 23, 2009 in what has been called the worst atrocity against journalists in history.

In fighting corruption, people should demand greater responsibility from the government, Father Alejo said. But “we must also assert our citizenship by promoting greater change and reform,” he added.

Abdulbasit Benito, executive director of the Bangsamoro Center for Just Peace, agreed with Father Alejo, saying that Muslims should also know that “corruption kills.”

“Public service is a public trust and civil society organizations, especially those working in Maguindanao, are sometimes exploiting the situation,” Benito said.

People should also demand “greater honesty” from groups helping victims of conflict in Mindanao “because we don’t know who their funds are going to,” he added.

Related reports
Nation’s bells to toll for victims of Maguindanao
Religious urge rethink on massacre case

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