By National Council of Churches in the Philippines
VARIOUS international organizations and institutions expressed their support to the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), one of the organizations included in the list of “front organizations of local communist terrorist groups” by the Department of National Defense (DND). They demanded the NCCP’s removal from the controversial list that was presented during the hearing on the AFP Modernization Program at the House of Representatives by Major General Reuben Basiao, AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence.
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) expressed alarm over the NCCP’s inclusion and stated that it is reminiscent of the “repression during the darkest years of the Marcos dictatorship.”
The NCC stated that they stand by NCCP and pledged to “... remain vigilant on behalf of their safety and security and to raise our voices on their behalf with President Duterte and with the United States government.”
The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit said: “The WCC strongly rejects the accusations made against the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and we stand in solidarity with the people of the Philippines who are mourning loved ones and living in fear of becoming the next victim.
We call upon the government of the Philippines to end the war on drugs, to take measures to hold accountable those who have carried out extrajudicial killings and to respect and protect the human rights and equal God-given dignity of all people in the Philippines.”
The Asia Pacific Forum (APF), an aggrupation that brings together many North American churches and agencies that engage in mission and ministry with ecumenical partners throughout Asia and Pacific, meanwhile wrote an open letter to President Duterte.
The letter, signed by its co-chairs representing the Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ of the USA and the United Church of Canada, stated that the “... malicious labelling of the NCCP poses a threat to their staff, member churches and associates and other ecumenical partners.”
They called upon the government and all sectors of the military to “... remove the NCCP from lists of alleged communist organizations and to ensure the protection of NCCP staff and operations.”
They also appealed to the government “...to seek the peace and welfare of all communities under their protection, especially the poor and vulnerable and to hold accountable any officials who abuse their power and commit acts of violence against them.”
Other church groups from abroad that decried the allegation include the California-Nevada Philippine Solidarity Task Force and the California Pacific Philippine Task Force of the United Methodist Church.