Church Worker Murders in the Philippines
A Declaration of Solidarity and Protest from World Church Leaders
We church leaders, gathered here in Manila, July 12-16, 2006, represent churches throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. We have been gathered here in prayer and for critical reflection on the way military, economic and cultural forces of US imperial power bring death and destruction to so many peoples and nations of the world.
We are shocked and dismayed by the news that at least 690 people have died as a result of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines - men and women, diverse activists, journalists and organizers throughout Filipino communities.
Of particular concern are our sister and brother church workers who have been slain by death squads that seem connected to powerful economic, military and political interests in the country. Eighteen church people have been murdered in the last two years, 15 of whom were working for the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).
All of these were innocent, guilty of nothing save their resolve to be faithful in securing justice and fullness of life for the disenfranchised and repressed communities of their nation.
We give thanks for these activists' lives, for our church workers' prophetic witness in the name of justice, love and life - for the gospel. May their deaths not be in vain, bearing fruit for the ongoing restoration of all Filipinos seeking justice and freedom from poverty, discrimination and exclusion.
We pray for this violence to cease. May the families of the slain be comforted. May Filipino churches, media and society remember them by name, and begin the truth-telling that identifies their killers, so as to bring healing for all who love them and value their work.
We are strengthened in our resolve to resist the global empire's brutal political economy of poverty, repression, torture and assassination suffered by activists for justice and peace. We remain inspired today by the struggle waged and the sacrifice made by these faithful church workers.
Rev. Park Seong-Won, Young Nam Theological Seminary, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, South Korea
Dr. Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, United Theological College (Bangalore), India
Rev. Dr. Karen Bloomquist, The Lutheran World Federation, USA/Switzerland
Ms. Omega Bula, The United Church of Canada, Canada
Rev. Jameson Buys, Uniting Reformed Church in South Africa, South Africa
Bp. Erme Camba, Silliman University, Philippines
Rev. Cheryl Dibeela, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, South Africa
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Duchrow, Kairos Europa, Germany
Dr. Chris Ferguson, World Council of Churches/Jerusalem, Canada
Mr. Muto Ichiyo, Asian Peace Alliance, Japan
Ms. Carmencita Karagdag, Peace for Life, Philippines
Rev. Dr. Keum Jooseop, Council for World Mission, South Korea/Great Britain
Prof. Dr. Kim Yong Bock, Advanced Institute for Integral Study of Life, South Korea
Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB, St. Scholastica's College, Philippines
Prof. Ninan Koshy, Political Commentator and Author, India
Ms. Rev. Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Guyana/Switzerland
Rev. Dr. Mark Lewis Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary, USA