A Catholic bishop in the central Philippines issued an “oratio imperata” or mandatory prayer for an end to the spate of killings in his diocese.
“It is ironic that even as scientists and medical professionals seek to find a cure to the coronavirus and save lives, there are persons and forces in Negros Oriental whose intent is to kill and to create a climate of fear among its law-abiding citizens,” said Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete.
The prelate called on government officials and institutions “to have the resolve to stop the killings and the will to bring the perpetrators of these unexplained and unresolved killings to justice.”
Bishop Cortes said the “oratio imperata,” which will be prayed during Masses, and the tolling of church bells every day will be concrete expressions of the call to stop the killings.
He said every Negrense deserves to enjoy every day without fear and to carry out everyday tasks without being bothered that somebody, “with intent to kill, is following him or her.”
“The moment a Negrense feels that the streets, the establishments, even our homes have become unsafe, that moment signifies the death of us all,” said the bishop.
The bishop encouraged the faithful to continue praying and seeking for the constant intercession of the Our Lady of Sorrows to “accompany” them in the pains and suffering of the times.
On September 9, the former town vice mayor of Pamplona, Kent Zerna Divinagracia, was killed outside of his residence.
Local authorities has recorded at least six murders for the month of September alone.