Bishops Gerardo Alminaza, Julito Cortes, Patricio Buzon and Louie Galbines of San Carlos, Dumaguete, Bacolod and Kabankalan, respectively, issued an obligatory prayer to be recited during masses starting yesterday.
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Bishops call for end to Negros killings
Gilbert Bayoran, Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - July 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Catholic bishops are urging residents of Negros Island to pray for an end to the spate of killings that claimed 21 lives within 10 days in Negros Oriental.

Bishops Gerardo Alminaza, Julito Cortes, Patricio Buzon and Louie Galbines of San Carlos, Dumaguete, Bacolod and Kabankalan, respectively, issued an obligatory prayer to be recited during masses starting yesterday.

“We ask God to disturb those who are responsible for this evil and have blood in their hands that they may have a change of heart and be renewed,” read the prayer.

The prelates also ordered the priests, parishes, mission stations and religious houses in their dioceses to ring the church bells every 8 p.m.

They said the ringing of the bells would symbolize the cry for justice for the victims.

The bishops also issued a pastoral statement condem-ning the killings.

“As your pastors, we denounce this total disregard for the primacy and sanctity of human life. This unfolding cycle of violence and vendetta is a matter of grave concern for us. How many more killings will it take for us to be able to hear these cries and be moved to say, ‘we are our brothers keeper?’” the bishops said in the statement.

Records show that from July 18 to 27, at least 20 persons were killed in separate attacks by unidentified men in Negros Oriental.

Among the victims were a city councilor, a former town mayor and two others, who were killed in Canlaon City and in the towns of Ayungon and Siaton on Saturday.

Two days earlier, gunmen shot dead seven persons in Guihulngan City and Sta. Catalina town.

Among those killed was one-year-old Marjon Ocampo, who died along with his father Marlon after gunmen barged into their house in Barangay San Jose in Sta. Catalina.

The bishops urged government officials to speak out against the killings, and the police and military to fulfill their duty to protect the people.

Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo assured the public that the province remains peaceful. He said the situation is manageable.

Degamo ordered the local police to investigate the killings thoroughly.

CATHOLIC BISHOPS NEGROS KILLINGS
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