Stop persecuting religious workers who help the poor | Inquirer Opinion

Stop persecuting religious workers who help the poor

/ 04:10 AM September 05, 2022

With deeper resolve and greater commitment, the religious took the challenge of incarnational love manifested in serving the poor and acting in solidarity with them in their struggle and hope for social justice. The birth of the Rural Missionaries in the Philippines (RMP) in 1969 signified that it is imperative for the church to take the ministry of loving our neighbor and serving the poor. The life and work of the RMP are not an option—as if the church has that luxury of choice or option. The life and work of the RMP are lived in obedience to the faith mandate and to the greatest commandment of loving our neighbor, especially the poor.

Through the years, not a few religious went to the rural areas in communities and fields where the marginalized, neglected, and oppressed people live. The RMP members humbly journeyed with the people and learned with them the gospel of liberation and salvation. They were unapologetic with the work that they do as they engage with principalities and structures that impoverish the people and silence the voice for justice and truth.


The RMP has helped communities in delivering health services and community empowerment programs, the building of schools, and stewardship of land and care for the environment. Its mission included working with peasants, the indigenous peoples, fisherfolks, and the rural poor.

The religious were welcomed in the communities as they are being led to a radical understanding of loving others. Theologies, prayers, rituals, and liturgies became meaningful articulations of faith, hope, and love as they immerse themselves with the poor in their cries, longings, and struggle.


The RMP, the longest-running mission partner of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (now CMSP) is backed up and supported by congregations.

It is with great concern that today, RMP is being persecuted for serving others. It is under attack by the state by weaponizing the law against the RMP and its mission, and even as far as freezing the RMP account that greatly impacted their work.

Recently, the Department of Justice indicted 16 members of RMP for allegedly financing activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army. Included in the list are Roman Catholic sisters Sr. Emma Cupin, Sr. Susan Dejolde, Sr. Ma. Fatima Somogod, and Sr. Maryjane Caspillo.

We stand with RMP on its mission and work. We condemn the government for maligning the ministries of RMP. The government should instead support its mission as RMP reaches out to the poor, the marginalized, and the neglected. We call on faithful Christians and churches to keep on praying for RMP and its ministries. Let us stand with RMP.


General Secretary;



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TAGS: Letters to the Editor, red-tagging, religious workers, Rural Missionaries in the Philippines
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