Church groups renew calls to defend people’s rights, end impunity

July 26, 2021 - 4:51 PM
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: Members of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) joined the protest rally at the University of the Philippines Diliman on Monday hours before President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). (Facebook/Church Response)

Church groups once again called on the national government to defend people’s rights and end impunity as President Rodrigo Duterte marks his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 26.

In a statement, the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) joined “toiling workers, urban poor, rural and indigenous peoples, women, youth and other sectors,” calling for an end to corruption under Duterte’s government.

“Our country is reeling from brazen violations of people’s rights, failed COVID-19 pandemic response, worsening poverty and joblessness, ballooning debt, unbridled corruption, militarist wars, and sell out of patrimony and sovereignty especially on the West Philippine Sea. This must end now,” PCPR said.

PCPR said the government should be held accountable for its “atrocious crimes” against the people, citing the investigations taken by the International Criminal Court and United Nations Human Rights Council. 

The organization also urged the government to repeal the highly controversial anti-terrorism law and abolish the “notorious” National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict.

“We look forward to 2022, or even earlier, without Duterte or a proxy in power, so that we can overcome obstacles to resume peace talks and release the political prisoners. A just and lasting peace is only possible by dismantling the unjust economic and social structures that breed rampant rights violations,” it said.

PCPR stressed that even Church members have “not been spared from state repression,” saying that prelates have been “red-tagged, slapped with trumped-up charges, and detained.”

“We remain steadfast in fulfilling our duties of building God’s kingdom on Earth by fighting all forms of evil and embracing the lives and struggles of the poor and oppressed,” the statement read.

“Wicked leaders must not be allowed to reign. The prevailing climate of impunity, unpeace and denial of a life of dignity must be reversed. [I]n the battle between good and evil, history, people and God impel us to fight back,” it added.

PCPR is “a progressive organization of Church people established during the Marcos dictatorship.”

It is part of the different organizations that joined protestors at University of the Philippines Diliman ahead of Duterte’s sixth and last SONA.