DAVAO City, July 26, 2015—The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has denounced what it considers to be the “brute” way law enforcers allegedly broke into a Lumad refugee camp inside a church compound in Davao, claiming that what they did violated the rights of the indigenous people (IP).
IP rights violations
“What the army did to force them to evacuate from their lands, the police almost succeeded in duplicating. Never mind that in both cases the rights of these Lumads were violated … Never mind that the police forced themselves into Haran-United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) [which is] long known to be a sanctuary,” lamented NCCP General Secretary Rex R. B. Reyes, Jr. in a recent statement.
According to him, the police action “terrorized” about 700 Lumads seeking refuge in Haran UCCP after they were forcibly evacuated from their hometowns several months ago.
“The high-handed actions of Representative Nancy Catamco are insensitive, and disregard the reasons why the Lumads are in Haran UCCP in the first place. As rightly pointed out by local leaders, the Lumads would not have sought sanctuary if there was nothing terribly wrong taking place in the places where they came from,” Reyes explained.
The interfaith alliance further bemoaned the trumped-up charges filed against church workers who are defending the rights of the Lumads.
The UCCP general secretary asserted these only intend to vilify those conscious of the church’s prophetic task.
“These malicious tactics must stop,” Reyes exclaimed .
Noting they are the last to uproot people from their communities, he pointed out it is the duty of church people to be the first to treat others with mercy and justice.
“Until this Administration addresses the roots that force communities out and implements actions, like pulling out the military forces from the land of the Lumads, ‘bakwit’ will still continue and human rights violated,” Reyes said.
Quoting Psalm 140:12, he added “…the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)