National Council of Churches in the Philippines responds to reports on their inclusion in the Order of Battle
We have on good report that the National Council of Churches in the Philippines is in the order of battle of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The NCCP, some bishops of its member churches and other religious organizations in Mindanao are so named in the AFP’s secret document entitled “JCICC ‘AGILA’ 3RD QTR 2007 OB VALIDATION REPOR”.We strongly denounce this inclusion of the NCCP and its member churches and bishops in this document as without any factual basis, malicious, and contrary to democratic principles. It is damnable as it contradicts government declarations that it does not violate human rights. It is outrageous because it promotes confusion and sows falsehood. It is exceedingly alarming because it puts the lives of civilians in peril and undue pressure.The NCCP is not an enemy of the state. It is a church fellowship of ten member churches and ten associate members who uphold the baptismal promise to uphold the human dignity of all people at all times.. Thus, the defense of human rights and civil liberties is not only a political responsibility, it is a responsibility motivated primarily by faith.NCCP’s programs and activities are not motivated by political gain but by the desire to obey the command of the Gospel to “seek peace and pursue it”. It seeks to be faithful in living out what Jesus Christ proclaimed: a compassionate society and the possibility of life in its fullness. In living out this proclamation, the NCCP aspires to radiate the hope of a better world in a situation of poverty, hunger, corruption in high places and the abuse of power.The penchant to label as enemies of the state, organizations and people whose primary vocation is to testify to the greatness of God’s love, Christ’s redemption and freedom in the Holy Spirit, is repugnant and unacceptable in civilized societies, much more in a Christian country. Documents such as this continue to prey on activists, and the government’s poor record on the issues of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the last seven years have been traced to this.Activists advocate freedom and the responsibility that comes along in the exercise of such freedom. The anti-insurgency policy of the government, given legal teeth by the Human Security Act, and the Oplan Bantay Laya, is a militarist solution that fuel further dissent, given the long years of its implementation. It has become a tool to commit human rights violations on civilians. It ignores the call for willful and deliberate efforts to address the issues that keep this country in a situation of constant civil unrest and address them in a manner that befits good governance.
We reiterate our call for the government to reconsider its anti-insurgency policy and faithfully abide by its constitutional mandate to serve all Filipinos and its pledges before the international community of nations.To our constituents in Mindanao, hold on and be steadfast in our common calling to serve the people by loving justice and peace. Let us not be misled by the powers and principalities that cast darkness in the heavenly places. We issue the same call to our sisters and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church who also embrace the command to be Christ-like. As we commend you all to God’s care and protection so do we pray that the Holy Spirit may turn the hearts of those who seek the destruction of other people and the despoliation of our beloved land.To our partners around the world, behold the plight of your sisters and brothers in the Philippines.Would that you continue to uphold us in your prayers and be unceasing in your solidarity with us. May it come to pass that weapons of war everywhere may be turned into ploughshares and the dawn of peace and justice turned into day.
BISHOP NATHANAEL LAZAROChairperson
REV. FR. REX RB. REYES,Jr.General Secretary