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Stop red-tagging those helping ‘lumad’ groups

/ 05:11 AM June 16, 2022

The Promotion of Church People’s Response denounces the Duterte administration’s malicious “red-tagging” attacks against Church leaders for their ministries with the indigenous peoples’ of Mindanao at the UCCP Haran in Davao City.

This Church property has been a refuge for internally displaced “lumad” many times in past decades. However, in the last few years, militarization in the countryside and martial law in Mindanao have made it nearly impossible for many indigenous peoples to return to their ancestral lands.

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As the UCCP Haran’s ministries were attacked in Red-tagging operations, fabricated and spurious charges were also lodged against Church leaders and human rights defenders who have responded to the urgent needs and safety of the lumad refugees. We are glad to learn that the two counts of child abuse filed against Bishop Hamuel Tequis, Bishop Daniel Palicte, and other human rights defenders have been dismissed due to lack of evidence. Since other cases filed against those involved in the UCCP Haran ministries are similarly fabricated and without basis, we continue to appeal for all cases against these leaders to be expediently dismissed.

The disease of red-tagging and warmongering in the Philippines seeks to rob our marginalized lumad kababayan of much-needed services as well as undermine their collective right to self-determination.

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Given the reality that state human rights violations forcibly displaced indigenous communities and sent them toward the city center, the Church must continue to assert our right to religious freedom and engage in the task of providing a safe haven to those under threat. We are not surprised that these same forces that attack the lumad also attack the Church that cares for them.

FR. ROLLY DE LEON
REV. MARY GRACE MASEGMAN
Chairpersons
Promotion of Church People’s Response

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TAGS: Letters to the Editor, lumad advocates, red-tagging
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