San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza has asked the faithful who will attend Mass on December 25, Christmas Day to express their desire and commitment to peace and the sanctity of life by wearing white.
“Wear white as an act of solidarity and to express our desire for and commitment to peace, sanctity of life, human dignity and human rights, and our collective call to end the killings, COVID pandemic and abuse of our common home,” he said in his Christmas message.
The prelate issued the same call to those who will attend Mass on Christmas eve (December 24), New Year’s eve (December 31) and New Year’s day (January 1).
According to Alminaza, it is lamentable how news of those killed for being tagged as “communists” or red-tagged are becoming a regular occurrence. 
In Negros alone, he said, vigilante groups have been empowered to take the lives of known rights advocates and peasant leaders, armed with the list containing the names of those suspected to have links with subversive groups. 
Alminaza said just recently the red-tagged lone Guihulngan City Health Officer and head of the local Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF was brutally murdered together with her husband.
He also cited the viral video of a  recent shooting incident in Paniqui, Tarlac, involving an off-duty police officer who fatally shot his two unarmed neighbors following an argument over an improvised noise maker.
To help raise public awareness, Alminaza urged everyone to share their pictures as congregation wearing white in various social media platforms using the hash tags:
He said church bells in his diocese will continue to ring everyday at 8 p.m. this Christmas and beyond until the killings stop.
“The bells are intended to prick the conscience of those who move in our midst and exact evil in killing hapless civilians; they must turn from their wicked ways,” said Alminaza.
“The bells ring as a soothing reminder to families who have been victimized that we are with them in their grief,” he added.
Most importantly, Alminaza said  they are a clarion call to the people to rise and pursue justice and peace.
The Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) also joined the many calls for justice, not only for the victims of the shooting in Tarlac, but “for all victims of violence at the hands of those in power.”
“As one nation, may we find ourselves united in breaking the prevailing culture of violence, impunity and injustice. We re-affirm our commitment for life and for peace.” the group said in a statement.

Source: Manila Bulletin (