Thousands of Catholics march in Manila to protest the killings under President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. Thousands of Filipino Catholics marched in Manila on Saturday (February 18) to protest the killings happening under President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody crackdown on drugs. The march, dubbed as the "Walk for Life," comes two weeks after the Catholic Church slammed Duterte's war on drugs in coordinated Sunday homilies for creating a "reign of terror" among the poor. More than 7,600 people have been killed since Duterte launched his anti-drugs campaign seven months ago, more than 2,500 in what police say were shootouts during raids and sting operations. Catholics, who mostly wore white, did not carry placards mentioning Duterte's name, but leaders urged accountability from the government and the police, who have been accused by human rights groups of extra-judicial killings of mostly poor addicts in the anti-drug campaign. The Saturday march also protested other policies under Duterte's government that the Church deemed as "anti-life" such as the proposal to reinstate capital punishment and the termination of peace talks with Maoist insurgents. Nearly eight in 10 Filipinos are Catholics and unlike in many other countries where the faith has waned, the majority still practice with enthusiasm. While that support has historically given the Church significant political and social clout, it has been hesitant to criticise the blunt-spoken president's war on drugs. Duterte has routinely attacked the Church. He cursed the Pope for causing traffic snarl-ups during his 2015 visit, and as recently as this week called for a "showdown" with priests whom he has accused of having wives, engaging in homosexual acts, misusing state funds and molesting children.