(A statement on the recent event of red-tagging of members of ecumenical groups)
For I hear many whispering:
“Terror is all around!
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
All my close friends
are watching for me to stumble.
“Perhaps he can be enticed,
and we can prevail against him
and take our revenge on him.” (Jeremias 20:10)
Over the past few days, malicious pages intending to harass young people from Christian Youth Fellowship, Kalipunan ng Kristiyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas, and Youth of Iglesia Filipina Independiente emerged and continued to circulate on social media accusing the Christian organizations of having ties with the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). While the pages seem illegitimate, this defamatory allegation thrives in the minds of the general public. Last 2019, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) was also red-tagged as a communist front.
The Youth Coordinating Committee of the NCCP condemns this brazen act of red-tagging. The ecumenical council is extending its solidarity with the wavering victims and faith communities. We also continue to remember and mourn the deaths of those who were mistakenly accused and wrongfully sentenced, who mostly journey with us in becoming Christ’s witness.
Although the pages bear the name of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), we appeal to the Philippine Government to address the roots of armed conflicts in the country with caution against extrajudicial “solutions.” The situation of continuous red-tagging was the outcome of the termination of peace negotiations and bloodshed from political crossfire that targeted the innocents and peace advocates, this time, young people.
But the Lord is with me like a terrifying warrior;
therefore, my persecutors will stumble,
and they will not prevail.
They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor
will never be forgotten. (Jeremias 20:11)
The Youth Coordinating Committee invites the church communities to be a support and shelter for the young people to combat their unfounded fears. Let us continue to stand our ground against the persecution of human rights. Let us demand accountability and review of government programs such as anti-terror law and the NTF-ELCAC that damage human dignity. As church communities, we must play a vital role in journeying through life in genuine peace.
We must not allow another Jeremiah to be a casualty of this armed conflict. The persecution of the prophets of the old and of today only spark our blazing devotion to righteousness and our duties for the last, least, and loss of the society.
O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous;
you see the heart and the mind;
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause. (Jeremias 20:12)
* The NCCP Youth Coordinating Committee is composed of the presidents/chairpersons of the NCCP member churches’ youth organizations or their duly authorized representatives. It shall assist the youth desk in setting its direction, priorities, and program (Article VI, Section 4. NCCP Constitution and By Laws).
Apostolic Catholic Church – Youth (ACC-Youth)
Convention Baptist Youth Fellowship of the Philippines (CBYFP)
Samahan ng Kabataang Episcopal sa Pilipinas (SKEP)
Pambansang Kapisanan ng Kabataan ng IEMELIF (PKKI)
Youth of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (YIFI)
Kabataang Unida Ekyumenikal (KUE)
Philippine Lutheran Youth League (PLYL)
The Salvation Army – Youth (TSA-Youth)
The United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines (UMYFP)
Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF)