Resolution affirming the statement of the NCCP Officers on the red-tagging by the Department of National Defense

WHEREAS, the NCCP officers issued a statement on November 06, 2019 to wit:

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) decries the baseless and unfounded inclusion of its name in the list of “front organizations of local communist terrorist groups (CTG)” by the Department of National Defense (DND). The NCCP was one among a number of humanitarian and service-oriented organizations in the list that was presented by Major General Reuben Basiao, Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence during the House committee meeting on November 5. Sadly, such baseless accusation from the DND is an affront to the work and ministry of the NCCP, its member churches, associate members, and local and international partners, not to mention that it is exceedingly alarming and dangerous. We thus respectfully call on the government to seriously review and revisit the unfounded accusations and engage in peace building instead, starting with the resumption of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The NCCP is an ecumenical fellowship of Protestant and non-Roman Catholic churches, united in faith in Jesus Christ and faithful in the mission of accompanying the Filipino people towards the Biblical vision of a life in all its fullness (John 10:10). Since its founding in 1963, the NCCP has been grounded in Christ’s mission, providing the churches with opportunities for common witness and responding together to the needs and concerns of the people. It is committed to unity and reconciliation and the promotion and protection of human rights. It works with churches and communities, impartial of their religion or beliefs, in order to deliver dignified humanitarian aid and other social services to the people, especially to the least of its sisters and brothers.

The NCCP stands firmly on its mandate to serve the people and remains faithful to the call of Christ to be with the communities with whom it works and serves. Such red-tagging by the State against the NCCP may delay, impede, or even prevent the delivery of much-needed services to marginalized communities especially in the midst of disasters. Organizations like the NCCP, should all the more be encouraged and supported especially in a context where human rights are attacked, and fear and insecurity constantly loom.

Jesus Christ declared, “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33). Therefore, the Council encourages its member churches and its national and international partners to remain vigilant, and join in this critical juncture with continued prayer and action, standing by the truth, speaking this truth with power, and lifting united voices without fear.

WHEREAS, the Officer’s Statement lifts up the Christian witness of the Council’s member churches and associate members. This is the core of our ecumenical witness and service. Such witness and service to the poor and the marginalized are expressions of our belief in the sacred task to defend the dignity of all persons each of whom is a Child of God and bearer of God’s image.

WHEREAS, red tagging short circuits the fundamental process of democratic discourse and violates due process especially as it curtails, among others, the freedom of expression. It is thus unfair to NCCP as it is to all others—persons or civil society organizations—to be in the list. We assert that red-tagging NCCP violates our right to the exercise of the freedom of religion, indeed to the exercise of ministries in furtherance of our religious beliefs. Such freedoms are at the core of the Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution. Any such practices that red-tags and vilifies legitimate ministries such as NCCP’s albeit in the context of the government’s counter-insurgency program called Oplan Kapanatagan and its “Whole of Nation Approach” subverts the majesty of democratic governance.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that we, the 102 delegates of the 25th General Convention, from the member churches and associate members of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) from various parts of the country, affirm the statement, titled “Standing Up for Loving God and Serving Our People,” that was issued by our officers on November 6, 2019 regarding the “red-tagging” of the Council.

RESOLVE FURTHER, that we will seek a dialogue with the Department of National Defense and/or other appropriate government bodies to resolve this matter.

RESOLVE FURTHERMORE, that we call on our international partners to enjoin their governments to advocate before Philippine authorities to desist from formulating and issuing such lists in the context of its counter-insurgency program. Also that their governments advocate for the promotion of peace, unity and reconciliation in the Philippines.