Lectionary Selection: Luke 17:5-10
Prayers for the Philippines:
God of life, we come before you to express our laments and struggles. The forces of death are relentless in their assault against your people and the whole of creation. Death and its various manifestations have engulfed the land. Many continue to live in abject poverty while the few wallow in affluence often at the expense of the hard working poor. Greed and corruption, human trafficking, dangerous drug trade, extra-judicial killings, kidnap for ransom and terrorism, especially by the Abu Sayyaf group on the island of Mindanao, continue to wreak social havoc.
Meanwhile extractive industries, such as mining companies, continue to ravage the ecosystem and displace the indigenous peoples of the Philippines from their ancestral domains.
We are not bereft of intelligent and well-educated people. Yet, why does it seem that we do not know our way out of our social mess? The darkness around us is deep.
So we pray, O God,
- send your Spirit to lighten our paths because the darkness around us is deep.
- Illumine our hearts and minds that we may see and embrace your light.
- Unleash the power of your Spirit to dwell in every nook and cranny of our lives so that our flickering light will shine brightly and burn mightily.
- Guide us to the way that brings justice, healing, reconciliation, and well-being for all.
- Empower us to not only know what to do, but also to do what we know.
This is our prayer.
“To foretell the destiny of a nation, it is necessary to open the book that tells of her past” wrote Jose Rizal. At this juncture of our history, with the pending burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, we are in danger of closing that book or even re-writing it.Read more
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), a fellowship of ten member churches and nine associate members, expresses its concern over the conduct of the campaign against illegal drugs.Read more
O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek;
you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that those from earth may strike terror no more. (Ps. 10:17-18)Read more
The church maintains full communion partnership with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), nurtured through Global Ministries and the various relationships created between Conference, Regions and local churches with UCCP bodies. Human rights abuses by Philippines government and military against civilians and civil society groups, including the church, remains a priority concern for our advocacy work.
We also work with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and advocacy partners like the human rights organization Karapatan in the Philippines to raise awareness and speak out on the human rights abuses suffered by the UCCP and its members and communities.
Stop the Killings in the Philippines
Recent years have seen an extraordinary number of political activists and human rights defenders extra-judicially killed in the Philippines. Reports indicate that approximately 290 such persons have been killed since 2004. These figures and the current situation in the Philippines are entirely unacceptable and require urgent intervention by the government if the killings are to stop.
In spite of massive protest locally and internationally, the government of the Philippines has not taken any significant steps to stop the extrajudicial killings. Either the government is unwilling or it is not capable of stopping such killings. It is time to resist this massive violation of human right to life, which now takes place with the government's direct or tacit consent. We urge everyone to take part in active protests to stop these killings and to return to the democratic way of life, as in the constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. Currently, the country's constitution, as well as the international obligations that the state of the Philippines has agreed to, remain flouted by such killings.
The UCC General Synod 26 (2007) Resolution of Witness, A Call for Solidarity with the Persecuted in the Philippines, and an End to Extra-Judicial Killings and other Human Rights Violations, calls for solidarity with the Philippines, including advocating with more responsible U.S. policy toward the Philippines. Realizing the links between U.S. funds and the violence and repression in the Philippines, the resolution calls on the churches "to advocate that military appropriations be conditional upon demonstrated promotion of human rights.”
In support of the resolution Global Ministries provides education and updates, engages in advocacy visits, leads workshops and support initiatives and campaigns regarding Philippines advocacy concerns. Global Ministries has submitted written testimony to Congress to address US military support for the Philippines and met with representatives of the Government of the Philippines to discuss extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses against the UCCP.
A timeline of engagement includes:
- 2011 Human Rights Tour: Global Ministries supported the visit of former UCCP Bishop Eliezer Pascua to U.S. churches in 2011 to speak about the ongoing human rights challenges of the Philippines partners.
- The Morong 43: Global Ministries advocacy has also focused on the illegal imprisonment of the “Morong 43”—a group of health workers arrested in February 2010 on suspicion of being communist rebels, but whose case was dismissed by new Philippines President Aquino in December 2010.
- Philippines Elections Monitoring: In May 2010 two volunteers participated as human rights monitors covering the presidential elections in the Philippines.
- Maguindanao Massacre: UCC and Disciples leaders expressed statements of support to the UCCP and National Council of Churches in the Philippines and joined the Asia-Pacific Forum in an ecumenical statement decrying the November 23, 2009 massacre of civilians in the Maguindanao Province of the Philippines.
- Case of Berlin Guerrero: Global Ministries invited formerly imprisoned UCCP Pastor Berlin Guerrero and his wife to attend the 27th General Synod (2009) in Grand Rapids, but U.S. visas were denied for the two based on unsubstantiated claims they represented security concerns. The UCC and Global Ministries protested, asking for an explanation and review of this decision, but communications were ignored by the U.S. State Department. The UCC had advocated for the release and investigation of the unjust capture and torture of Pastor Guerrero by the government of the Philippines, and supported both his testimony of his case to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, and testimony of ecumenical advocates about such extrajudicial abductions and abuse to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Read the April newsletter from the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines about the situation in Kidapawan and their protest against the government.Read more
“...Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come and my deliverance be revealed...” (Isaiah 56:1).
Impelled by the severe hunger caused by the intense dry spell in North Cotabato, compounded by empty promises of government aid to avert the debilitating effects of the El Niño phenomenon, some 6,000 farmers and indigenous people took to the main highway in Kidapawan to demand for rice and the release of calamity funds. The peaceful assembly on April 1 was brutally dispersed by state security forces. Their demands were well within the government’s capacity to respond to but the farmers were met by gunfire, hot pursuit and illegal arrests. The demonstrators sought refuge at Spottswood Methodist Mission Center which willingly opened their doors to provide safety. The shots have died down but as of this writing, the farmers continue to be harassed by police and military presence at the Mission Center.Read more
Originally posted here on April 6, 2016 by the People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty
We are asking different organizations to kindly add their support to the farmers of Kidapawan, Philippines by adding their organization's name as signatory to the statement. Please get in touch with PCFS on email@example.com.
We would like to express our utmost condemnation on the killing of unarmed farmers asking for food relief. The people of North Cotobato are suffering from severe drought. The non-response of the government to help them survive such crisis is inhuman enough. To hoard the food relief intended for them is simply criminal. To open fire at them when they were demanding what is due them is plain evil.Read more
Written April 2, 2016 by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato M. Reyes, Jr. and originally posted here
ON March 30, farmers from different parts of North Cotabato, reeling from the debilitating effects of the drought brought about by El Nino, occupied the Kidapawan highway to demand from government immediate rice support and the releases of much needed calamity funds. They were demanding 15,000 sacks of rice for 6 municipalities, for the duration of the drought, until the farmers are able to recover. The root cause of the protest was government neglect of starving farmers and their families.Read more
APRIL 6, 2016
Agricultural workers joined more than a thousand farmers and lumad who staged a die-in protest in front of the Bukidnon Provincial Capitol to seek action regarding pressing issues confronting El Niño-stricken peasant communities in the province.Read more