Bishop urges Marcos gov’t to shun ‘militarist tactics’

April 25, 2023 - 5:02 PM
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos speaks at a peace forum at the Philippine Christian University in Manila on April 20, 2023. (NCDG via CBCP News)

A Catholic bishop has called on the Marcos administration not to indulge in militarist tactics and red-tagging if only to advance genuine peace-building.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said red-tagging and terrorist-labelling that are bereft of substantive grounds are “counter-productive” to attaining peace.

“We urge for the Marcos Jr. administration to desist from militarist tactics, including unsubstantiated terrorist designation as a means to dehumanize revolutionaries and deny due process, human rights, and protection under international humanitarian law,” Alminaza said.

The president, he said, must pursue the necessary steps to pursue the peace process between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

“As Christians, we will continue the struggle for peace, genuine peace, where the root causes of social unrest are addressed and resolved,” Alminaza said.

The bishop made the statement during the “No Justice, No Peace” forum at the Philippine Christian University in Manila on April 20.

He then called on the peace advocates to keep speaking for the truth and not to allow red-taggers “to take up residence in our minds or cultivate a spirit of fear in our hearts”.

The red-taggers, according to him, will do everything to scare them from their advocacy and struggle for what is right.

“Truly, red-taggers desire to sow fear towards perpetuating a status quo of oppression, exploitation, and suffering in silence for the toiling poor,” said Alminaza, who himself was a victim of red-tagging.

He rallied the advocates of human rights and justice to stand together “with courage and clear minds, and to continue to struggle for peace”.

“Our best response to fear-sowing governance is to struggle together in solidarity for genuine peace,” he also said.