Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Fr. Mike Deeb, the Dominican Order’s permanent delegate to the United Nations and its General Promoter of Justice and Peace, were the keynote speakers at the conference.
In an interview, Fr Deeb expressed deep concern on the human rights situation in the Philippines amid the rising number of drug suspects killed in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. He admitted that the abuse of drugs is "very worrying" and is a very "big issue of concern" in the UN, but noted that violating human rights is not the solution to curb it.
Fr. Victor Calvo, the Promoter of Justice and Peace in the Province of the Philippines and the main organizer of the conference, said that the event is in accord with the recent stand of the CBCP released in a pastoral letter last month regarding the extra-judicial killings and the reimposition of death penalty. “We are promoting the culture of life, and not the culture of death,” he said.