November 27, 2009
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has issued a statement condemning the violence in the recent election in the southern part of the country. NCCP represents 10 member denominations, including the Convention of Philippines Baptist Churches. The statement is published in its webpage: http://www.nccphilippines.org/.
NCCP Statement on the Massacre in Maguindanao
It is a massacre most foul, gross, and utterly repugnant!
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines joins the people in mourning. We reach out in prayer and solidarity to the families of the victims of the massacre in Maguindanao. The death toll of 46 people as of this writing, includes members of the media and two lawyers known for their human rights advocacy. We also reach out to the relatives of those missing. May the Holy Comforter be with them.
Yet even as we grieve and mourn, we are outraged. We are outraged that government has not acted with dispatch. Two days after news of the carnage broke out, the suspected mastermind has not been taken into custody. From day one, the spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines already identified the suspected mastermind – a known staunch ally of the President and undeniably a political warlord in Maguindanao. We join the demand for the Government to take action but, we are appalled that a state of emergency has been declared in Maguindanao. For so long, Mindanao has been militarized and used to justify more military hardware and budget. What other more powers does the government need?
This massacre is a grim reminder of the pervading culture of impunity and the lack of respect for human rights that has been in our midst and that has turned for the worse since 2001. We are indignant of this continuing culture of impunity and the lack of political will of the government to stop these killings. What government has been doing is the swift perpetuation of injustice and the slow if not hollow dispensation of justice.
The gruesome massacre of unarmed civilians is also a painful reminder that government statements to the dismantling of political warlordism have been mere rhetoric. Government has either turned a blind eye or entered into alliances with these warlords for political expediency at the expense of creating democratic space. Political warlordism is a manifestation of a feudal social order and we join the call that it should now be a thing of the past.
To our partners around the world, our deep gratitude for upholding us in your supplication and affirming our calls. We pray that peace and justice be given a chance in Mindanao and elsewhere in this country. We pray that all the resources that have been poured in Mindanao bail the people out from the mire of poverty, neglect and human indignity. We pray that we all rise from this blasphemy for the sake of the God who loves us all and calls us to be one people and for the sake of our children and the children yet unborn.