STATEMENT: Mindanao churches: opposed to the anti-terror law

The Mindanao region is rich in natural resources and is a potential for the interest of foreign investors on mining industries and plantation of high value crops to feed profit-hungry multi-nationals. Thus militarization is rampant in the countryside and even the cities to give way to what the government calls development but in effect is an aggression to the populace which resulted to extrajudicial killings and abductions of peasant leaders, militant leaders, media practitioners, including church peoples.

Also, Massive Land Conversion affects the vast majority of the poor farmers and the urban poor communities in the cities. The political leadership is in the hands of the few elite, the landlords who enjoy the blessing of Malacanang.

Also, Mindanao has revolutionary movements like the CPP-NPA-NDF and the MILF that has long been in struggle for the emancipation of Filipino people and the self determination. These groups are currently in peace negotiations with the GRP.

In the guise of running after the so called terrorists and bandit groups in Mindanao, the GMA-regime prioritised the passage of the Anti-Terror Law dubbed as the Human security Act of 2007. We believe that this law will not in any way be a solution to the Mindanao problems but rather surely aggravate the already rotten political and economic situation.

The Human Security Act (HSA) is based on the notion that "the State must be held above all else.  The State must wield absolute power, using everything to control the territory and population of a country.  It must protect itself at all costs even at the cost of its own citizens.  Thus, anything and anyone, that threatens national interests in the eyes of the present dispensation is deemed as a foe, a terrorist, an enemy of the state.” (NCCP statement)

This law however not only violates the 1987 Constitution but suffers from what is called a ‘fatal contextual infirmity.’  The law which completely tramples on the entire Bill of Rights is also a tool that is expected to be used by the government for the political persecution of legitimate dissenters and political opponents.  This concern is certainly with basis considering the government’s track record of disregarding the rule of law,   institutions, e.g. PP1017 and E.O. 464 and by allowing allies to go scot-free from the law.  

"With the HSA, the State has set itself up as the absolute power that determines what course people's lives will take by putting forward a very vague definition of terrorism.  By so doing, the State has usurped the functions that rightfully belong to God.  By playing God, the State commits the highest form of sacrilege.”

“The Human Security Act will surely result in many human rights violations as its provisions curtail basic freedoms that run counter to our Constitution; it basically presumes guilt unless proven innocent; it purportedly protects the interests of the state, and hence the people, from terrorists but it actually legitimizes terrorism – state terrorism.  It demands full obedience and subservience from its constituents.  We must recall why Jesus was crucified, why heroes and heroines died and why many human rights defenders today are being silenced.  That is because they would not toe the political line of the powers and principalities.  And because they refuse to be subservient, they are labelled as "subversives".  The State must rid its territory of subversives or terrorists.”

The Human Security Act is a travesty against the sacred tenet of freedom that God bestowed on His people.  Thus, to accept the Human Security Act is to defy the will of God. For us this law has contextual infirmities and is prone to abuse by repressive government authorities.

Thus, we strongly call on our law makers in the 14th Congress to outrightly repeal Republic Act 9372 and the Supreme Court to declare the same as unconstitutional.

As church people, we commit ourselves to educate, organize alliances and mobilize the faithful to be vigilant and effectively exercise our moral, prophetic and social ministries.

Thus we shall particularly do the following:

On Education:

In our dioceses, jurisdictions, conferences, deaneries and vicariates, parishes, local churches, and congregations we shall conduct fora, symposia, consultations, inter-faith and ecumenical dialogues for the faithful and the populace to comprehend the evil effects of the HSA to the Filipino people. 

On Alliances and Networking:

We shall initiate and build strong alliances with other faiths and sectors which are also working for peace, justice and genuine development responsive to the people’s aspiration. Particularly, we shall spearhead a Church People’s Movement against HSA. 

On Mobilization:

The Church people are not spared from the demonic acts of the state as evidenced by the 26 victims of extra-judicial killings since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assume power in 2001. Therefore, we deem it imperative to initiate mass mobilizations and actively participate in  mobilizations spearheaded by other sectors.

On Services:

True to our vocation, we shall continue to offer our churches and facilities as sanctuaries to the afflicted and the struggling people. We shall also conduct fact finding and mercy missions to the communities and peoples affected by the said draconian law.

We uphold that life is sacred and freedom is inviolable. We urge our people to remain more vigilant and steadfast in their faith and commitment.

Reiterating our commitments, we affix our signatures this 18th day of July, 2007, being the 4th day of the implementation of the oppressive, barbaric and demonic anti-terror law.

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Bishop Felixberto L. Calang                                         Fr. Raul Arnorcillo

Bishop, Iglesia Filipina Independiente                         Iglesia Filipina Independiente

Diocese of Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Or

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Rt. Rev. Danilo Bustamante                                         Bishop Constante D. Claro

Bishop, Episcopal Church in the Philippines                 Bishop, South East Mindanao Jurisdiction

                                                                                    United Church of Christ in the Philippines

 

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Rev. Beltran Pacatang                                                 Rt. Rev. Delfin Callao

CONCORD Inc.                                                                         Bishop, Iglesia Filipina Independiente

                                                                                    Diocese of Davao, Bukidnon

 

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd. 

Fr. Lito Bayao                                                               Rt. Rev. Rhee Timbang

Episcopal Church in the Philippines                              Bishop, Iglesia Filipina Independiente

Southern Mindanao                                                     Diocese of Surigao

 

 

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Rev. Wilman Bongado                                                  Rt. Rev. Pablo Jarantilla

Conference Minister                                                     Bishop, Iglesia Filipina Independiente

UCCP – SMDC                                                              Diocese of Ozamis

 

 

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Rev. Arturo Veladiez                                                    Fr. Francis Imperial

UCCP – Mindanao                                                        Episcopal Church in the Philippines

                                                                                    Southern Mindanao

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Fr. Ben Bacalso                                                                        Fr. Vic Arellano

Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                      Iglesia Filipina Independiente

 

 

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Fr. Noel Bacalso                                                           Fr. Elmar Cortes

Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                      Episcopal Church in the Philippines

 

 

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Fr. Renato Mobayaen                                                   Fr. Tony Mokudef

Episcopal Church in the Philippines                              Episcopal Church in the Philippines

 

 

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.                                                                

Fr. Gil Dinapo                                                               Rev. Marcial Calawigan

Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                      Conference Minister

                                                                                    UCCP-ADC

                                                                                   

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Fr. Rowell Platil                                                            Rev. Emma Catubig

Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                      Iglesia Filipina Independiente

 

 

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Fr. Manuel Marasigan                                                   Rev. Abner Saycon

Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                      Conference Minister

                                                                                    UCCP-DCNM

 

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.

Rev. Eliaquim de Aquino                                               Rev. Fr. Jonathan L. Casamina

United Church of Christ in the Philippines                    Episcopal Church in the Philippines

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.    
Fr. Wylan Pinera                                                          Rev. Fr. Rey C. Timbang
Episcopal Church in the Philippines                              Iglesia Filipina Independiente

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.
Fr. Atellano Homillada                                                  Rev. Jovenal Bagnol
Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                      Conference Minister
                                                                                    UCCP-SDC

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.
Rev. Minda Capitle                                                       Fr. Tonio Ablon
United Church of Christ in the Philippines                    Iglesia Filipina Independiente

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.
Fr. June Mark Yanez                                                     Fr. Emerito Bilones
Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                      Iglesia Filipina Independiente

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.
Rev. Franklin Dumaog                                                  Fr. Richel Navarro
Conference Minister                                                     Iglesia Filipina Independiente
UCCP – DCNZ

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.
Rev. Oscar Parel                                                          Rev. Pablo De la Cruz
Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                      Conference Minister
                                                                                    UCCP-CAC

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.
Rev. Jelly Salig                                                             Rev. Eric Calgas
UCCP-NWM Jurisdiction                                                Conference Minister
                                                                                    UCCP-WMC


Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.  
Fr. Delfin Bordas                                                          Conference Minister
Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                      UCCP-NDDC

Sgd.                                                                             Sgd.
Rev. Rosario Pacatang                                                 Rev. Fr. Rex B. Reyes, Jr.
United Church of Christ in the Philippines                    Episcopal Church in th
e Philippines

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