NCCP to US Congress: Pass the PH Human Rights Act Now

Quezon City, Philippines- The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), an aggrupation of Protestant and Non-Roman Catholic Churches, commends and welcomes the reintroduction of the Philippine Human Rights Act (PHRA) to the US Congress last June 17, 2021, by US Representative Susan Wild of Pennsylvania. This bill seeks to intervene in the massive and intensifying human rights violations in the country under President Duterte’s administration.

“The reintroduction of the PHRA gives hope to the Filipino people whose rights and lives have been ferociously trampled upon by state security forces. We believe that the international community has been vigilantly keeping watch to the bleak human rights situation in the country and we thank churches and human rights organizations in the US for their determined lobbying”, said Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, the General Secretary of the NCCP. He added that such vigilance to walk alongside the suffering Filipino people is a concrete manifestation of “bearing witness with us, of love and justice in action, which is the hallmark of Christian living”.

The PHRA aims to block security assistance and funding to the Philippines until President Duterte’s administration made the necessary reforms to its military and police forces. NCCP hopes this will help in improving the human rights condition in the country. If passed, the PHRA will prevent the sale of arms to the Philippines worth two billion dollars. The sale includes attack helicopters and the additional 126 million dollars worth of assault boats and armaments.

“This Act has been a direct result of tireless work and lobbying efforts of our allies and partners in the US, the churches and grassroots people’s organizations, Filipino-American activists and rights defenders who have been working along our side to push for reforms. This is a concrete example of solidarity work being built and strengthened by movement-building, and this movement from the ground up can be a very powerful tool for impacting change” Bishop Marigza added.

We express gratitude to Rep. Wild and to the 13 honorable members of the legislative body who co-sponsors the H.R. 3884,” the bishop said.  “We pray and call that this Bill be passed without delay in the US Congress.  This critical bill can spell life and death for many who are made vulnerable by the policies and actions of the Duterte government, particularly the economically poor and human rights activists. Indeed, acts of solidarity can go a long way”, Bishop Marigza concluded.