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HUWAG KANG PAPATAY | Southern Tagalog rebels back Traslacion message vs drug war EJKs
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- Communist rebels in the Southern Tagalog region hailed the Catholic church for making its message against the extrajudicial killings that have characterized government’s war on drugs a central part of this year’s Traslacion or procession of the Black Nazarene.

This year saw the Quiapo church, which houses the religious image, displaying a huge banner exhorting: “Huwag kang papatay (Thou shalt not kill).” The message was also seen printed on T-shirts worn by many of the devotees who came to honor what they believe is a miraculous statue.

Jaime “Ka Diego” Padilla, spokesman of the New People’s Army’s Melito Glor Command, in a statement, called the move “a meaningful opportunity to share with the many people who joined the procession our condemnation of the widespread killings and injustices in the country.”

Citing official figures placing the number of deaths since July, when President Rodrigo Duterte came to power, at more than 6,000 with only a third of these from police operations, Padilla said: “Many innocents have been victimized by the Duterte regime in the war against drugs while not a single drug lord has been jailed in Southern Tagalog and the whole country except small-time drug pushers and users.”

He said Duterte’s approach to solving the drug problem has “dismayed” the revolutionary movement in Southern Tagalog, especially when activists and progressives began to be targeted in the guise of the campaign.

Padilla said the prayers of devotees for an end to the killings “can only be achieved if we act to resist and oppose the injustices being committed today.”