By Leslie Ann Aquino
The spate in the number of killings in the country, the victims of which now include priests, has prompted Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle to ask why there is a proliferation of firearms.
“Tinatawagan natin ang mga mambabatas at tagapangalaga ng kaayusan at
katahimikan: bakit po napakaraming baril o sandata na nagkalat? Baka kailangan suriin ang mga batas at patakaran hinggil sa paggawa, pagbebenta, pagbili at pagmamayari ng baril (We call on our lawmakers and those in charge of peace and order: why is it that there so many guns out there? Maybe there is a need to study our existing laws and policies with regard to the production, sale, purchase and ownership of guns),” he said in his Independence Day message.
“Huwag nawang dumating ang araw na mas madali pang bumili ng baril kaysa bigas (Let us hope that the day won’t come wherein purchasing a gun would be easier than buying rice),” he added.
To note, three priests have been shot to death by unknown gunmen in the last six months.The latest victim being Father Richmond Nilo of the Diocese of Cabanatuan.
In his message, the cardinal lamented the killings in the country which choose no one.
“Ang pinakahuling biktima ay si Fr. Richmond Nilo ng Cabanatuan at sana’y hindi na masundan. Tumatangis tayo para sa kanila, sa kanilang pamilya at sambayanan. Humihingi tayo ng katarungan para sa kanila (The latest victim is Fr. Richmond Nilo of Cabanatuan and let’s hope that will be the last),” Tagle said.
According to the cardinal, freedom is fake if justice is being toyed upon.
“Inuulit po natin: Taliwas sa kalooban ng Dios ang pagyurak sa buhay. Hindi solusyon ang pagpatay sa mga problemang personal at panlipunan.
The cardinal then called on all parishes in his archdiocese to offer Masses for nine days for those who were killed especially the priests who were murdered, starting June 13.
He also asked parishes to continue the ringing of church bells every 8 p.m. as a way of remembering and praying for the dead.
“Panawagan din ito sa mga pumatay na alalahanin ang kanilang ginawa at magbagong-buhay (This is also a call to those who kill to remember their wrongdoing and repent),” Tagle said.
“Bilang isang sambayanan, humingi tayo ng patawad sa Diyos sa mga kasalanan laban sa buhay. Sabayan natin ng gawaing magbibigay buhay ang paghingi ng patawad: pagdamay sa naulila, pagbabahagi ng pagkain, pakikiisa sa Pondo ng Pinoy at Sanlakbay, paglahok sa Caritas, dialogo sa hindi Kristiyano o Katoliko at iba pang pagkakawanggawa. (As a nation, let us all ask pardon from the Lord for the sins against life. Let us accompany this by performing acts such as sympathizing with those who lost a loved one, sharing food, taking part in the Pondo ng Pinoy and Sanlakbay, or Caritas, dialoguing with Christians or Catholics and other works of charity),” he added.