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Philippines: mgr. Schick (German Bishops Conference), a seriously bad social situation in Manila and in the country

“Many of those who are on the margins of society can survive with the help of the Church and get a chance to support and build a dignified life for themselves”, even if deep social and economic inequalities remain, which make it extremely difficult to have a favourable development for all citizens, and more and more people live in undignified conditions. This is the picture of the social situation in Manila, as shown by the journey that Ludwig Schick, archbishop of Bamberg and president of the Universal Church Commission of the German Bishops Conference, has just finished in the Philippines. A particularly bad scourge is drugs, but the Filipino bishops do not share the policy of the Government, which is carrying out a “war” with unlawful means: 8,000 people have already been killed, especially in the poorest neighbourhoods of the big cities, either as drug addicts or as pushers. Schick joined the bishops in their denunciation: “Criminals too have human rights and dignity, and they should only be punished by the ordinary courts”. Filipino bishops are also against lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility and the reinstatement of death penalty that president Duterte has enacted. Mgr. Schick went also to the island of Mindanao, where the fight for independence that has been dragging on since the Seventies between Islamic rebels and the central government is about to reach a peaceful ending.

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