Students, faculty members, and administrators of St. Paul University Manila urged President Rodrigo Duterte to take action on the numerous drug-related killings in the country by holding a noise barrage and ribbon tying program in front of their campus September 30.

The program dubbed as #ShoutForLife rallied participants from the campus to troop to the sidewalks of Pedro Gil in Manila. The crowd held colorful placards and banners expressing their disdain of the numerous human rights violations.

dsc_0514“We would like to address that these people are not yet proven guilty, and we care about them because their lives are taken away just that instantly,” Pro-Life Paulinian President Nika Ondoy said.

A 2nd year music student, Icon Leander Fernandez, a volunteer of the Pro-Life Paulinian, meanwhile says to kill is contrary to Biblical teachings.

“As a Catholic institution, we’ve been taught that the Lord is telling us that killing is against his own law. We as Paulinians, [and with] majority of students in this University being Catholics support and do our best to obey that divine law.”

Fernandez however clarified that they are against the extrajudicial killings and not President Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

“To President Duterte, I’m not against your advocacy to wipe out drug pushers. Actually it has a big improvement dito sa country natin. His advocacy is very good. But don’t let other people take advantage of this advocacy.”

dsc_0667Ondoy meanwhile stressed that the government ought to show compassion to victims of drug addiction.  “As students and pro-life advocates, we would like to address this to everyone in our government and to the President to give these people second chances. Restorative justice is what we need. Not the outright killing of people,” she said.

Address the root of illegal drugs

Stop the Killings Network, led by spokesperson Cora Agovida, reiterated that what the country needs are long-term solutions including education, rehabilitation, and livelihood programs that would protect people from illegal drug addiction.

dsc_0538“We are one with the people who want an end to the drug menace in the country. [But] the most effective way to solve the drug menace is to address the socio-economic roots of the problem,” Agovida said.

“The Duterte administration has yet to produce enough jobs, end contractualization, improve social services, provide free or affordable decent homes to the homeless and informal settlers, distribute land to the tiller-farmers, to make the majority poor Filipinos productive and positive contributors to nation-building,” she added.