MANILA, Nov. 5, 2011—Hong Kong’s human rights groups held a picket in front of Philippine Consulate General to protest the murder of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME and the rising cases of extra judicial killings in the Philippines.
The HK Committee for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP) and Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) HK chapter have expressed alarm on the increasing number of human rights advocates being killed in the country.
Expressing their solidarity with their compatriots, the HK groups slammed the culture of impunity that victimized those who take the cause of the marginalized, like Fr. Tentorio.
“The culture of impunity persists and yet again victimized another man of the Church whose devotion the cause of the Lumad in Mindanao, the poor, and the Filipino people has been unflappable. Like that of all others before him, Fr. Tentorio’s death needs for immediate justice,” said Joram Calimutan of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and a member of the Executive Committee of PCPR-HK.
The groups handed to the consulate a letter signed by 19 Religious leaders, Churches and Church-related groups expressing their condemnation on the killing of Fr. Tentorio and other activists.
Local and migrant workers organizations and a Hong Kong legislator also endorsed the statement.
Calling for a swift investigation of Fr. Tentorio’s death and Oplan Bayanihan, the protesters also urged the junking of Mining Act of 1995 which Fr. Tentorio had opposed in his work among the Lumads.
HKCAHRPP spokesperson Bruce Van Voorhis decried that the Aquino government has not stemmed the culture of impunity that was so rampant in the previous administration.
“The body count is again on the rise. While the more than 1,000 cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance[s] under the GMA (Arroyo) government still await justice, the Aquino government seems more intent in adding more atrocities and human rights violations instead of delivering justice and ending the culture of impunity in the country,” he remarked.
The Oplan Bantay-Laya of the previous administration, he said, now called Oplan Bayanihan by the Aquino government, “clearly appears to head to the same direction as its predecessor – killings, enforced disappearance, displacement of militarized people, and fading hopes for a just peace.”
The (PCPR) HK chapter and HKCAHRPP were joined by migrant workers and priests from Fr. Tentorio’s order, the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME). (CBCPNews)