Four years into the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s democracy is running into serious trouble, said a church official.
Bishop Patricio Buzon of Bacolod said the government’s attacks on critics are indicative of Duterte’s intolerance for views that question its policies and actuations.
The prelate particularly condemned the recent shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN, whose broadcast franchise was not renewed by Congress.
He said it was another “insidious” move by the Duterte administration and its allies in Congress to “quash dissent.”
“With these attempts, the diocese is convinced that our democracy is being imperiled,” Bishop Buzon said in a statement.
“Democracy thrives in plurality of views where opposing views are not stifled and independent voices not silenced. To uphold, respect and protect this plurality is the common good,” he said.
He warned that if these actions are left unchallenged, “our country can retrogress to tyrannical rule”.
According to the prelate, the Church must “rise to the occasion as prophets”.
“We heed the call of the times and speak up. We condemn that which undermines the common good. We condemn that which disregards established rights,” he said.
Bishop Buzon also called for vigilance against the new “anti-terrorism” law, which he described as a threat to basic human rights.
“We have been through the dark, cruel days of tyranny. If we stand and speak up now, our children do not have to go through it,” he said.