STATEMENT | ‘It is the poor that bear the brunt of these wars’

June 10, 2017 - 7:42 AM
Smoke rises from the center of Marawi as fighting continues between government forces and extremist gunmen. (Reuters file)

Different sectors, groups and individuals are organizing a “National Day of Prayer and Action for Peace and Human Rights” on Monday, June 12. In Manila, a big inter-faith prayer and rally will be held at the Andres Bonifacio Shrine beside the Manila City Hall from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. Simultaneous actions are expected in various parts of the country. This is their statement.

(N.B. We have been informed that former Senate President Nene Pimentel has yet to confirm his signature on the statement. Our apologies.)

No to Terrorism!
Lift Martial Law!
Stop Aerial Bombings of Communities!
Stop Extrajudicial Killings!
Defend Human Rights!
Pursue the Peace Talks!

On June 12, Independence Day, we, concerned Filipinos from various faiths, sectors and political affiliations, will come together in a day of prayer and action to renew the call for peace and respect for human rights amidst the rising tide of terrorism, martial rule and impunity that threatens to rip the nation apart.

We extend our solidarity to the victims of the Marawi siege. We condemn the deliberate acts of terror by the ISIS-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups. We call on all people to come to the aid of thousands of internally displaced persons in Lanao del Sur and nearby areas.

Likewise, we gather to show our opposition to martial law in Mindanao and possibly other parts of the country. We call for an end to the aerial bombardment of Marawi and other conflict areas.

As the Marcos dictatorship showed, martial law is not the answer to the complex problems of Mindanao. A regime that trades Filipinos’ human rights for vague, ever moving law and order goals can only add fuel to armed rebellions and set back efforts to address the roots of the conflict. Martial law will further embolden law enforcers and state-sponsored vigilante and para-military groups to commit even more extrajudicial killings and curtail civil and political rights.

In the last year, atrocities have mounted nationwide. Filipinos are right to protest the murders of thousands in the drug war, as well as the extrajudicial killing of suspected rebels, ordinary farmers, indigenous peoples and Moro people in the counterinsurgency war. It is the poor that bear the brunt of these wars. It is the poor that are killed. It is their rights that are violated. It is their communities that are subject to aerial bombings and abuses during military and police operations.

As the poor suffer, the drug lords, the landgrabbers, big mining corporations, and their protectors in government, continue to get away with their crimes.

We likewise unite against the dangers of reimposing the death penalty and lowering of the age of criminal responsibility. Given the weaknesses and failures of our justice system, such measures will most likely further victimize the poor, weak and powerless.

Drug abuse, criminality, social unrest and rebellion are but symptoms of deep-seated, historical problems that cannot be solved by wars against the poor or the imposition of martial law. We need to address the roots of the problems – massive poverty, social injustice, corruption, and failure to assert national sovereignty and genuine independence.

In this light, we also call for the continuation of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Only by mutually addressing the roots of the armed conflicts can all parties hope to forge a just and lasting peace for our people.

We shall continue to pursue various paths to peace based on justice and the full respect for human rights. It is our hope and prayer that President Duterte and all government officials can still listen and change.


Current and Former Members of Congress:

Former Sen. Rene Saguisag
Former Sen. Wigberto Tañada
Rep. Carlos Zarate (PL- Bayan Muna)
Rep. Emmi de Jesus (PL-Gabriela)
Rep. Arlene Brosas (PL-Gabriela)
Rep. Antonio Tino (PL-ACT Teachers)
Rep. Sarah Elago (PL-Kabataan)
Former Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III
Former Rep. Neri Colmenares
Former Rep. Teddy Casiño


Bp. Broderick Pabillo, D.D., Auxiliarry Bishop, Diocese of Manila
Bp. Gerardo Alminaza, D.D., Diocese of San Carlos
Bp. Joel Tendero, UCCP South Luzon Jurisdiction
Bp. Elorde Sambat, UCCP North Luzon Jurisdiction
Bp. Alexander Wandag, Episcopal Diocese of Santiago City
Bp. Redeemer Yanez, IFI, Diocese of Koronadal
Bp. Ernesto Tadly, IFI, Diocese of Eastern Pangasinan
Bp. Rudy Juliada, IFI, Diocese of Libertad
Bp. Melzar Labuntog, UCCP North East Mindanao Jurisdiction
Bp. Antonio Ablon, IFI, Diocese of Pagadian
Bp. Modesto Villasanta, UCCP Agusan del Sur
Bp. Alger Loyao, IFI, Diocese of Cebu
Bp. Ronelio Fabriquier, IFI, Diocese of Romblon
Bp. Godofredo David, IFI
Bp. Rodolfo Juan, UMC
Bp. Ciriaco Francisco, UMC
Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr., Secretary General, NCCP
Fr. Leonardo Cabrera, MSC, Provincial Superior
Mo. Adele Ygrubay, OSB, Prioress, Missionary Benedictine Sisters
Sr. Marinela Narvaez, SSS, Coordinator, Sisters of Social Service
Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS, Regional Coordinator, Notre Dame de Sion
Fr. Joselito S. Sarabia, CM, Director, St. Vincent’s Seminary
Fr. Michael Imperial, Diocese of Sorsogon
Rt. Rev. Jonathan Casimina, Davao Episcopal Dioces of Mindanao
Mo. Mary John Mananzan, OSB
Sr. Maureen Catabian, RGS
Fr. Ben Alforque, MSC
Br. Jun Santiago III, CSsR
Fr. Gilbert Billena, OCarm
Fr. Rolly de Leon, PCPR
Fr. Arvin Bellen, CMF
Fr. Paul Medina, OCarm
Fr. Ety Ignacio, Diocese of Malolos
Fr. Rudy Abao
Fr. Mike Peralta
Fr. Melvin A. Ordonez,SMM
Fr. Val Narcise, CICM
Rev. Israel Painit, UMC
Sr. Helen Graham, MM
Sr. Virginia Fabella, MM
Sr. Fidelis Abad Santos, MMS
Sr. Joey P. Eduvane,NDS
Sr. Carmelita Arenas, RGS
Sr. Celine Cajunding, RGS
Fr. Helmuth Peter, SVD
Fr. Manuel Gatchalian, SVD
Fr. Wilfredo Dulay, MDJ
Fr. Joel Canuel, MDJ
Rev. Mary Grace Masegman, IFI
Rev. Irma Balaba, PCPR
Rev. Fr. Jonash Joyohoy, IFI
Rev. Igmedio Domingo, UMC
Rev. Manuel Buenaventura, Jr., UMC
Dss. Darlene Caramanzana
Dss. Norma Dollaga
Nardy Sabino, PCPR
Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija
Fr. Miguel Peralta
Fr. Carlos Sayson
Fr. Sam Ferrer
Fr. Joe Corral
Fr. Manny Fernandez
Fr. Luke Heindrich
Fr. Nando Salvador
Fr. John Ferrera
Fr. Angelo Santos
Fr. Manny Guico
Fr. Joselito Sarabia, CM
Fr. Efren de Guzman, SVD
Fr. Tito Paez
Fr. Apolo de Guzman
ICM Sisters
Sr. Lyn Leuterio
Sr. Montserat Agcaoili
Sr. Medz Encommecia
Sr. Rochee Austria
Sr. Corazon Caguioa
Sr. Lita Perez
Sr. Purita Resigon
Sr. Aqueda Bernardo
Sr. Rose Marie Iñigo
Sr. Julieta de Leon
Sr. Clarita Dolencia
Sr. Alne lansang
Sr. Eleanor Llanes
Sr. Lydia Lascano
Sr. Cleofe Bacon
Sr. Mechtilde Alabarza
Maryknoll Sisters Parish Work, Inc.
Lani Abriol
Genny Olivario
Rogelio Bedando
Naty Cipeas

Human Rights Advocates, Sectoral Leaders, Concerned Filipinos:

Cristina Palabay, Sec. Gen., Karapatan
Dr. Carol Araullo, Chairperson, BAYAN
Renato Reyes, Jr., Sec. Gen., BAYAN
Gloria Arellano, Chairperson, Kadamay
Eule Rico Bonganay, Salinlahi
Atty. Edre Olalia, President, NUPL
Atty. Ephraim Cortez, Sec. Gen., NUPL
Bonifacio Ilagan, CARMMA
JL Burgos, brother of Jonas Burgos
Marie Hilao Enriquez, SELDA
Trinidad Repuno, SELDA
Evangeline Hernandez, Hustisya
Mae Paner a.k.a. Juana Change
Gabriela Lluch Dalena, RESBAK
Maria Isabel Lopez
Maria Carmen Sarmiento
Michele Campos
Mark Vincent Lim, CEGP
Donna Miranda
Angelo Suarez