One with IPs in Mindanao
We are members of the Franciscan Custody of St. Anthony of Padua (which ministers in the Visayas and Mindanao through its schools, parishes and other institutions). Recognizing our ministry to the indigenous peoples as part of our vision-mission, too, we reiterate our solidarity with the indigenous peoples in view of recent incidents in Mindanao involving them.
- We acknowledge with respect and love their presence and culture as integral to, and an enrichment of, our national identity and culture as Filipinos;
- We denounce in the strongest terms the killings and violence in their communities, and we join them and other concerned agencies in their demand for a thorough investigation of the incidents and for appropriate actions to prevent such incidents from happening again;
- We also support the move of human rights groups to investigate the validity of the militarization of their communities, as well as their actions in defense of their ancestral lands, and their support and promotion of the environment in their areas;
- We uphold their rights, as citizens of this country, to self-determination; to healthcare, education and other social services; to update themselves and live with some financial autonomy and true human dignity;
- And last but not least, being with them as brothers, we call for the protection of their indigenous traditions and their belief system and of their right to express these, as we prepare for the time when the Spirit will reveal their readiness to receive the Good News of Jesus.
In the spirit of dialogue and respect for people and all creation, inspired by our Father St. Francis of Assisi, and in oneness with the direction given to the Church today by Pope Francis, we pray for peace in our country and for the Lord’s blessing on our ministry to our indigenous peoples.
—BRO. FELIX C. JUNGCO JR., OFM, custos, 2 Capricorn Street, Punta Princesa, Cebu City, with 55 signatures of friars in the school, parish and healthcare ministries in Samar, Biliran, Cebu, Basilan, Balo-i, Kidapawan, Zamboanga del Sur, Leyte; and of the solemn professed, the student friars and the novices
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