December 10, 2013
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) joins advocates for peace and justice in remembering. We remember those who have been killed extrajudicially, those who have experienced enforced disappearances, and those who suffered illegal detention for their principled stand against the systemic oppression through repressive state policies such as Oplan Bayanihan. We remember that until this day, the perpetrators of these human rights abuses remain free.
We remember how life in its fullness is denied to majority of the people. The anti-corruption promises of the President remain unfulfilled. There is no respite. Rather, we are fed with daily rounds of fiery speeches and empty rhetoric. We remember the people of Zamboanga who to this day are forsaken following a brutal but unnecessary conflict. We remember the dismal performance of government in response to the several disasters that hit the country – of a president who promised preparedness and adequate relief but who has shown more concern for keeping mortality statistics low. We deplore the moves of the US and the acquiescence of the Philippine government to use needed humanitarian assistance to further US militarist agenda.
The right to live life in its fullness is a basic human right. Its full measure is when children and young people are properly educated, when the sick are given proper medical care, when those who produce our food and turn the wheels of industry are properly paid and enjoy the fruits of their labor, when there is uncompromising concern for the welfare of succeeding generations. However, today we see a gross failure to respect the basic rights of the people.
We must choose life. We must denounce and renounce any structure or system that negates life in its fullness. The struggle for human rights in this country has been sustained because of the perseverance and courage of the people to confront the state’s abuse and misuse of power. Today we remember the undying faith of the people that peace and justice can be a living reality. To choose life is to declare that the defense of human rights is about the defense of human dignity. There can be no human dignity in a situation of opportunism, injustice and oppression.
The violation of human rights is a sin and so is the willful denial of human dignity by those who govern. Consequently, a system that promotes sin cannot be allowed by the people to go on. It is said that “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).
We thank God for the gift of remembrance, for the faith that sustains the struggle for peace and justice and the courage to persevere, Amen.
The Most Rev. Ephraim S. Fajutagana
Obispo Maximo XII, Iglesia Filipina Independiente
Rev. Rex R.B. Reyes, Jr.