Posts

Protestants’ Lenten call to Duterte: Care and compassion, not bullets

The country’s biggest group of Protestant churches urged President Rodrigo Duterte to feel care and compassion for the poor affected by his government’s island-wide lockdown due to the corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

In its Lenten call to the president, the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP) said that the pandemic is a health crisis and that Duterte’s threat to arrest and shoot the desperate and hungry is uncalled for.

“Callous remarks and threats are not what are needed right now, especially as Holy Week is fast approaching. What is needed is food,” NCCP General Secretary Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza said.

The group of the Philippines’ mainline Protestant churches was reacting to Duterte’s surprise televised address Wednesday when he threatened he will order his police to shoot rioters.

Alam mo, we are ready for you. Gulo o barilan o patayan. I will not hesitate [to order] my soldiers to shoot you. I will not hesitate to order the police to arrest and detain you,” Duterte said. (Disorder, gunfight or killings.)

“My orders are, sa pulis pati military, pati mga barangay na pagka ginulo at nagkaroon ng okasyon na lumaban at ang buhay ninyo ay nalagay sa alanganin, shoot them dead,” Duterte added. (To the police, military and the village officials, that if there is disorder and there is resistance and your lives are put in danger, shoot them dead.)

“Naintindihan ninyo? Patay. Eh kaysa mag-gulo kayo diyan, eh ‘di ilibing ko na kayo. Ah ‘yung libing, akin ‘yan. Huwag ninyo subukan ang gobyerno kasi itong gobyerno na ito hindi inutil,” the president also said. (Do you understand? Dead. If there is disorder, I might as well bury you all. The burial is on me. Do not test the government, because this government is not inutile.)

Duterte was reacting to urban poor residents in Quezon City who were asking for food assistance after being put out of work since the government’s Luzon-wide lockdown started in March 15.

Officers of the Philippine National Police swooped down on the gathering and arrested 21 of the residents they allege refused to return to their hovels inside Sitio San Roque.

The residents later told reporters they were waiting for the food aid package they were promised by some local and national officials who were present in the area.

Later reports also clarified that the residents were not conducting a protest rally.

The NCCP said it is saddened and appalled with Duterte’s treatment of the people’s growing unrest brought by hunger amid the lockdown.

“The order of the President to ‘shoot those causing riot’ is sending a message that the government lacks genuine concern for our poor sisters and brothers who are growing desperate every day from hunger,” Marigza said.

Marigza added that it takes extreme conditions like hunger for people to brave the threat of Covid-19 and it was not for lack of discipline or being uncooperative.

“The people of San Roque simply need to survive. Going out in the streets is their desperate measure to call out the government that they are hungry. But instead of listening to their demands, they were met with violence and some were even arrested,” the prelate explained.

“What happened in San Roque is a painful proof that it is the poor who always suffer in any crisis such as now. The incident shows that enhanced community quarantine, without proper economic support to those severely affected, will not work,” Marigza added.

 Marigza said the residents of San Roque, located across NCPP’s headquarters along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, had long been struggling on a daily basis and deprived of basic social services even before the pandemic.

Originally part of a massive park project when Quezon City was created as the Philippines’ new capital during the American Commonwealth period, the area became a resettlement destination for victims of demolitions in Manila and Pasay cities.

Demolitions of the residents’ houses started when developments for a new Quezon City Business District in the area commenced. Remaining residents in Sitio San Roque refused relocation sites they described as “danger-prone areas” such as those in Rodriguez, Rizal.

“How do we want them to respond to a government measure that will make their already difficult lives even much harder?” Marigza asked.

The NCCP leader also raised concern over the government’s “fixation on arrests and imprisonment” in a time of a public health crisis.

He pointed out reports that more than 17,000 people arrested while there are around only 3,000 who were tested for COVID 19.

“Mass testing and a systematic distribution of food and other assistance are imperative right now. Again, our Lenten call, test more people and help the poor, do not arrest or shoot them,” Marigza said.

The country’s biggest group of Protestant churches urged President Rodrigo Duterte to feel care and compassion for the poor affected by his government’s island-wide lockdown due to the corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

In its Lenten call to the president, the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP) said that the pandemic is a health crisis and that Duterte’s threat to arrest and shoot the desperate and hungry is uncalled for.

“Callous remarks and threats are not what are needed right now, especially as Holy Week is fast approaching. What is needed is food,” NCPP General Secretary said Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza.

The group of the Philippines’ mainline Protestant churches was reacting to Duterte’s surprise televised address Wednesday when he threatened he will order his police to shoot rioters.

Alam mo, we are ready for you. Gulo o barilan o patayan. I will not hesitate [to order] my soldiers to shoot you. I will not hesitate to order the police to arrest and detain you,” Duterte said. (Disorder, gunfight or killings.)

“My orders are, sa pulis pati military, pati mga barangay na pagka ginulo at nagkaroon ng okasyon na lumaban at ang buhay ninyo ay nalagay sa alanganin, shoot them dead,” Duterte added. (To the police, military and the village officials, that if there is disorder and there is resistance and your lives are put in danger, shoot them dead.)

“Naintindihan ninyo? Patay. Eh kaysa mag-gulo kayo diyan, eh ‘di ilibing ko na kayo. Ah ‘yung libing, akin ‘yan. Huwag ninyo subukan ang gobyerno kasi itong gobyerno na ito hindi inutil,” the president also said. (Do you understand? Dead. If there is disorder, I might as well bury you all. The burial is on me. Do not test the government, because this government is not inutile.)

Duterte was reacting to urban poor residents in Quezon City who were asking for food assistance after being put out of work since the government’s Luzon-wide lockdown started in March 15.

Officers of the Philippine National Police swooped down on the gathering and arrested 21 of the residents they allege refused to return to their hovels inside Sitio San Roque.

The residents later told reporters they were waiting for the food aid package they were promised by some local and national officials who were present in the area.

Later reports also clarified that the residents were not conducting a protest rally.

The NCCP said it is saddened and appalled with Duterte’s treatment of the people’s growing unrest brought by hunger amid the lockdown.

“The order of the President to ‘shoot those causing riot’ is sending a message that the government lacks genuine concern for our poor sisters and brothers who are growing desperate every day from hunger,” Marigza said.

Marigza added that it takes extreme conditions like hunger for people to brave the threat of Covid-19 and it was not for lack of discipline or being uncooperative.

“The people of San Roque simply need to survive. Going out in the streets is their desperate measure to call out the government that they are hungry. But instead of listening to their demands, they were met with violence and some were even arrested,” the prelate explained.

“What happened in San Roque is a painful proof that it is the poor who always suffer in any crisis such as now. The incident shows that enhanced community quarantine, without proper economic support to those severely affected, will not work,” Marigza added.

 Marigza said the residents of San Roque, located across NCPP’s headquarters along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, had long been struggling on a daily basis and deprived of basic social services even before the pandemic.

Originally part of a massive park project when Quezon City was created as the Philippines’ new capital during the American Commonwealth period, the area became a resettlement destination for victims of demolitions in Manila and Pasay cities.

Demolitions of the residents’ houses started when developments for a new Quezon City Business District in the area commenced. Remaining residents in Sitio San Roque refused relocation sites they described as “danger-prone areas” such as those in Rodriguez, Rizal.

“How do we want them to respond to a government measure that will make their already difficult lives even much harder?” Marigza asked.

The NCCP leader also raised concern over the government’s “fixation on arrests and imprisonment” in a time of a public health crisis.

He pointed out reports that more than 17,000 people arrested while there are around only 3,000 who were tested for COVID 19.

“Mass testing and a systematic distribution of food and other assistance are imperative right now. Again, our Lenten call, test more people and help the poor, do not arrest or shoot them,” Marigza said.

The mass arrest and Duterte’s speech made the hashtag #OustDuterte the top trend on Twitter for more than 24 hours since Wednesday. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Public Forum on the BBL

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal speaks at a public forum on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The event was organized by the Moro-Christian Peoples Alliance (MCPA), Pilgrim for Peace and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP).

Mamasapano tragedy: Gabi ng pagluluksa at paghahanap ng katotohanan

Promotion of Church People’s Response condoles with the families of the PNP officers and MILF and BIFF elements whose untimely deaths occurred in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, due to unresolved armed conflict in the country. They offer prayers for nations that will unearth the root cause of this tragedy with prudence and wisdom.

NCCP, Edsa
January 30, 2015

BAYAN MUNA CALLS FOR THOROUGH INVESTIGATION OF PURISIMA, AQUINO AND U.S. HANDS ON THE BLOODY MAMASAPANO POLICE FIASCO

As reports linking US operatives to Mamasapano incident surface

Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate today said that as reports linking US operatives on the botched operation in Mamasapano are surfacing left and right thus it is imperative that a thorough investigation be launched by Congress to get to the truth.

President Aquino’s not admitting until now his responsibility, not telling the whole truth and passing the blame of the most bloody police fiasco to the commander of SAF is unacceptable and reprehensible. It is a vain attempt to hide the whole truth, especially his, Purisima’s and the US’ role in the botched operation to escape accountability.

As it is, newspaper reports say that agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and ranking Filipino police officials planned a secret operation aimed at getting a notorious international terrorist, a source who declined to be identified told the Inquirer.

The source said the target was on Washington’s list of priority terrorists: Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” who had a $5-million price then on his head. The bounty was later raised to $6 million.

Based on the reports, a former ranking police official in Central Mindanao, claimed that during the meeting, which he attended, the FBI agents shared an intelligence report on the exact whereabouts of Marwan and another terrorist, Filipino Abdul Basit Usman.

The source said the Americans were certain about their intelligence data because it was provided by a mole from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“They were paid cash in exchange for the information,” the source said.

The source said the FBI agents validated the information relayed to them by their mole through the use of “drones and global positioning system.“We can even see the hideout of their target,” he said.

During the meeting, it was decided that those involved in the operation would not share information with any other government agencies “to prevent a leak of the plan. They will only coordinate with other government troops—posted along the highway—on their way to their mission,” he added.

“Ito ang nakakalungkot dito ang US ang nagplano at ipinahamak ang mga SAF. Matapos ibala sa kanyon ang mga SAF pa ang may kasalanan sa pagkasawi nila,” said Rep. Colmenares

“This is one of our fears when the Philippines entered the Visiting Forces Agreements (VFA) and now the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) we are dragged into their fights and battle plans under the heading Target of US enemies. Filipinos are the ones dying for the US to get what they want. Worse because we are now seen as part of US military operations against its enemies, we also become a target of attacks by the enemies of the US. This should really be investigated and adds to the numerous reasons why these treaties should be junked,” added Senior Deputy Minority Leader Colmenares.

“Malala pa ay Si Pres. Aquino ay naghuhugas kamay at hindi ipinaliwanag kung bakit di pinaalam ang operasyon sa DILG Secretary at PNP chief. Ito ay patunay na totoo nga na si Gen.Purisima ang nagcommand ng operations.May pananagutan si Pres. Aquino sa ginawa nyang pag utos sa operasyon at pagdefy sa order ng Ombudsman na suspendido si Purisima at sa talumpati pa niya ngayon ay lalo lang nagalit sa kanya ang mga kamag-anak at kaibigan ng mga nasawi maging ang sambayanang Filipino,” he added.

“As for his part Rep. Zarate said that “even as other government agencies will conduct their own probes of the incident, Congress must also conduct a thorough investigation, since it appears that there was breakdown in the established mechanisms agreed upon by the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as well as to see the veracity of reports that US agents or troops were also in the area after the incident,”

“There are more questions now than when this was exposed. As for example, if SAF commander keep on insisting that Operation Wolverine is very much alike the US operation to get Osama bin Laden then he has already admitted that this botched operation has US backing, support and participation. Another question is how are we certain that the US agents seen in the evacuation of the dead and wounded SAF did not take the supposed body of Marwan or his cut finger for them to test for his DNA? These are just few of the questions that have to be answered for us to get to the truth,” ended Rep. Zarate. ###