Northern Luzon bishops call for an end to violence
- Jun Elias () - November 7, 2007 - 12:00am

SAN FERNANDO , La Union – Four Northern Luzon bishops, along with 30 priests from various parishes in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions and police and non-government groups, held a peace rally here yesterday to call for a stop to violence in the northern provinces and elsewhere in the country.

Bishops Artemio Rillera of La Union, Leopoldo Jeaucian of Abra, Ernesto Salgado of Vigan and Jacinto Jose of Urdaneta joined some 1,000 people, including priests, parishioners, students, policemen, and representatives of various religious groups and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption led by its chairman, Dante Jimenez.

Rillera told The STAR that the event was organized by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) as part of its centennial celebration next year to call for peace in the country and condemn various forms of crimes and corruption.

“This is in condemnation of all kinds of killings and cruelty because what should be evoking in us is peace. We have to grow in that awareness that we are brothers and sisters. It is really high time to point fingers to the killers that they are not with God and what they are doing is not the will of the Lord,” Rillera said.

Among the high-profile killings condemned during the event were those of Fr. Francis Madhu of Labuagan, Kalinga, and Fr. Florante Rigonan of Pinili, Ilocos Norte. Political killings in Abra, La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur were also denounced.

Ilocos police director Chief Superintendent Leopoldo Bataoil, who joined the program at the St. William Cathedral, said Task Force Usig, a police unit tasked to look into political killings, has solved some cases, including the murder of Mayors Julian Resuello of San Carlos City and Philip Velasco of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.

“We are doing everything for peace and order. However, there are people with self-interest (who even kill innocent persons) so they can be in power. Help your policemen because we cannot do it alone. We want to ensure that the rule of law will prevail,” Bataoil said.

Also present during the event were former colonel Bobby Ortega, who represented Gov. Manuel Ortega, La Union police director Senior Superintendent Franklin Bucayu, and pastors of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.  

BISHOPS ARTEMIO RILLERA OF LA UNION BOBBY ORTEGA CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT LEOPOLDO BATAOIL DANTE JIMENEZ ILOCOS NORTE LA UNION PLACE
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