Philippine president blames communist rebels for recent civilian killings, vows tit-for-tat response
Relatives of victims of killings in the Philippines join human rights groups in a demonstration in Manila to call for justice and a stop to the violence, especially in the provinces. (Photo by Jire Carreon)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accused communist rebels on Negros Island in the central part of the country of killing civilians, and vowed a tit-for-tat response.He threatened to place Negros, the country’s fourth largest island with a population of four million, under martial law. "The president vows to replicate the atrocious acts done by communist rebels on civilians," his spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said on July 31.
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'Unjustified'Bishop Alminaza has yet to issue a response to Duterte’s latest pronouncement, but his social media account shares messages warning against the imposition of martial law.The social action arm of the bishops’ conference has already backed the prelate's peace talks call."Have we totally lost faith and hope in life and in people that we turned barbaric against each other? We need to do something as a Church," said Father Edwin Gariguez, who heads the conference's National Secretariat for Social Action — Justice and Peace. "We cannot keep silent and remain undisturbed by the killings," said the priest. The National Council of Churches of the Philippines, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and the Philippine Independent Church all issued similar views.
'Probe calls snowball'
Duterte’s latest threat came on the heels of a resolution by 26 legislators supporting a call for an investigation into the killings.
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