December 10, 2020
QUEZON CITY – On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines joined the multisectoral actions commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “This year’s commemoration of International Human Rights Day is a reminder that as Christians we must actively take part in defending human dignity especially at a time when wanton disregard for human rights and the rule of law seems to be a state policy,” said Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP).
“To remain silent runs counter to what our faith and conscience demand – to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8)” Bishop Marigza added.
The NCCP has always been vocal in its defense of human rights especially in the midst of the pandemic where spiraling deeper crises plague the country, and have pushed many of the vulnerable sectors to the fringes of society as toxic lockdowns were implemented. NCCP avers that the government’s militaristic response to the pandemic only brought devastating effects to the lives of the Filipino people.
The Council and its member churches also experienced intensifying vilification and red-tagging. Aside from NCCP, repeatedly mentioned in the recent presentations made by NTF-ELCAC Executive Director Allen Apuyan were Iglesia Filipina Independiente, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, United Methodist Church and Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches. Last December 8, the image of IFI Obispo Maximo Rhee Timbang was also included in malicious flyers distributed around Cagayan De Oro tagging him as a “communist terrorist”.
“Red tagging is real, but despite these attacks, we will continue to defend human rights. Denouncing evils in our society and proclaiming and asserting Jesus’ promise of abundant life for all remains to be our fundamental task.” Bishop Marigza averred.
“The defense of human rights is at the very core of our faith because of our belief in the sanctity of life and the need to protect human dignity that God bestowed on each of us. Just as Jesus triumphed over death in order to proclaim God’s love, the churches will surely win against the attempts to malign our ministry and prophetic stance. We will continue to stand for human rights!” Bishop Marigza concluded.