ICC Note: Church groups are working to put pressure on their governments to push the Philippine administration to take a more aggressive role to stop the killing of clergy, laity, journalists and human rights worker. Pray for those who are taking a stand in the Philippines to see change brought about and for those ministering there who are at risk.
Human rights abuses still a concern to Filipino church leaders
NewsDesk (8/3/06) – Human rights abuses remain a concern for faith leaders in the Philippines , according to a United Methodist church executive.
The Rev. Larry Pickens, chief executive of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity, met with ecumenical leaders, including those from the United Church of Christ and Pentecostal churches, during a July 25-28 visit to Mindanao , Philippines .
The leaders shared with him the most recent list of church workers, both laity and clergy, assassinated over the past three years, Pickens said.
Support from international groups — including United Methodist delegations, the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia — has been helpful in raising the “visibility” of the human rights problem.
“The hope is that as church groups continue to put the pressure on their governments to push the Philippine administration, that will have a positive effect,” he said.
In early January, Pickens was part of a United Methodist delegation to the Philippines that called upon President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to take a more aggressive role to stop the killing of clergy, laity, journalists and human rights workers who help the poor.
Bishop John Hopkins, head of the delegation, told a Jan. 6 news conference in Manila , “The killing must stop.” The delegation heard first-hand testimony from more than 20 victims and surviving family members from many parts of the Philippines , who described the pain and suffering exacted through murders targeting religious and community workers.
“Our people are not armed,” the bishop said at the press conference. “They teach, provide medical care, counsel and educate. We implore the government and military officials to recognize the important work of those who seek to minister with the poor and marginalized, and to distinguish their work as vital and important to the country and its people.” [Go To Full Story]