Civic groups, priests protest divorce bill, drug killings

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 24) — Civic groups including Catholic priests staged a protest at the Quirino Grandstand Saturday to denounce drug war killings and the proposed divorce bill in the House of Representatives, among others.

Over 2,000 people, among them, priests, nuns and students joined the "Walk for Life" to express dissent over some policies of the Duterte administration.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in his homily, said the government should value both the sanctity of marriage and life.

"Pero ang kanilang tinatapakan ay nabahiran na ng dugo. Ang kanilang tinatapakan, ang kanilang pinaglalakbayan ay punong-puno ng mga bakas ng karahasan at pagbabalewala sa buhay," Tagle said in his homily.

[Translation: But what they are stepping on is smeared with blood. The path they're treading on is filled with traces of violence and blatant disregard for life.]

The House committee on population and family relations on Wednesday approved a measure that would allow divorce in the Philippines. Under the bill, married couples may end their marriage for several reasons, including abuse, infidelity, and irreconcilable differences.

Religious officials emphasized the event was not organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) but by independent Catholic group Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas.

Opposition personalities also participated in the event like Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat. Also in attendance were Cabinet members of the Aquino administration like ex-Social Welfare chief Dinky Soliman and former Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

They denied, however, politicizing the event.

Government data showed that around 4,000 have been killed in anti-drug operations, but human rights groups believe the number to be as high as 13,000.