Tell Congress: Support the Philippine Human Rights Act
For years, our partners in the Philippines have witnessed the increasing violence and violations of human rights committed by members of the Philippines security forces. Recently, the Armed Forces of the Philippines included the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), one of our UCC partners, in a list of 18 organizations it described as communist terrorist groups or groups wittingly or unwittingly providing funds to such groups. The NCCP, the largest ecumenical group of Protestant and non-Roman Catholic denominations in the Philippines, described the listing as an “attack on [their] Christian faith and tradition.”
Churches and their leaders in the Philippines have been vilified throughout Duterte’s term in office. In February 2018, President Duterte threatened to kill Catholic Bishops who speak out against the Drug War and human rights violations. He urged Filipino citizens to “kill useless Bishops”.
Thousands of Filipinos are being killed with impunity in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Drug War. In addition, bishops, priests, pastors, women religious, church workers, and laity have been threatened, intimidated, harassed, and murdered for speaking out against extra-judicial killings and the war on drugs.
On June 17, 2021, Representative Susan Wild (D-PA) introduced the Philippine Human Rights Act (HR 3884), which reinforces United States commitment to international human rights by suspending security assistance to the Philippines until (1) violence against dissidents ceases and (2) accountability against the perpetrators commences. Domestic remedies have been exhausted, and the US must act to protect the human rights of Filipinos since no remedial action is being taken by the Duterte administration.
As people of faith in the US, we urge members of the US Congress to end all assistance to the Philippines military and the Philippines National Police, to pass the Philippine Human Rights Act, and to hold hearings in the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees to assess what impact continued support for the Duterte Administration has on the people of the Philippines.