Killings Tearing Filipino Society Apart: UCCP

May. 30, 2006

The United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) General Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the UCCP, has adopted a resolution and statement denouncing the deteriorating human-rights condition in the country.

We are aghast that these killings are happening with such obvious connection and direction. We must speak the truth and name them appropriately as assassinations/extra-judicial killings, said Bishop Elmer M. Bolocon, the UCCP general secretary, in a statement.

Many of our members strongly believe that these killings are being perpetrated by elements of the Philippine National Police and/or Armed Forces of the Philippines, he said.

Regardless, we call on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to address this undeniable pattern and put an end to these crimes. The fabric of our society is being torn apart by these immoral acts against the civilians of our beloved country, and our Church is in mourning for our murdered workers and members.

The UCCP, he said, will not stop proclaiming good news for the poor, sight for the blind, justice for the hungry, freedom for the captives and liberation for the oppressed. We will continue to work for justice. These martyrs strongly serve as testament of our resolve for a world of peace based on justice. We pray that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the whole of her administration, and all of the people of the Philippines will restore the dignity of all human life and uphold civil liberties. These extra-judicial killings must be stopped!

Below is the full text of the UCCP resolution, titled RESOLUTION AND STATEMENT Of Great Concern Regarding The Current Explosive Breakout In Human Rights Violations:

WHEREAS, reports have lately piled up about the increasing number of militants who had been liquidated under circumstances that seemingly point to the military as responsible. A number of church members and leaders of the UCCP, perceived by the government to be activists or left-leaning, have been among the victims.

WHEREAS, in the face of these awful depredations, government authorities have not made any serious and painstaking investigation. Passivity and silence, evasions and denials, distortions and prevarications, characterize the stale responses of the establishment, including those coming from the Office of no less than the Commander-in-Chief.

WHEREAS, it behooves the present government, which is supposed to uphold the ways of justice, the imperatives of due process, and the tenets of Christian decency and morality, including the military leadership, under the command and direction of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to resolutely and uncompromisingly ferret out from our midst these thugs and assassins who now reign havoc on the lives and basic rights of those of our people who are afflicted, and to immediately stop the violent and wanton onslaughts.

WHEREAS, as a church body charged with the prophetic role and mission for its people, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines is thereby called upon to denounce this continuing viciousness and iniquity, and to proceed to render comfort and support to the victims.

WHEREFORE, it is hereby RESOLVED by the delegates of the General Assembly of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in plenary session

a) to strongly decry and denounce the ongoing unmitigated killings of militants and activists in our society, and hereby call upon the military leadership, especially the Commander-in-Chief, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to immediately cause the stopping of these extra-judicial executions, and to employ all means to bring to justice, without delay, all those responsible in the commission of the crimes;

b) to urge all the local churches to organize and mobilize so as to address effectively this particular upsurge in human rights violations; and

c) to encourage and support lawyer-members of the Church, in all the jurisdictions, with regard to their need and desire to formally organize and be presently linked together on a nationwide basis, with the assistance of friends and partners of the Church, for the purpose of defending, under our laws and democratic system, those of our church members, and others in the community, who are victims of gross and flagrant violations of human rights.

Adopted by the 8th Quadrennial General Assembly in Session, May 27, 2006, Digos City, Davao Del Sur.

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