Here’s another chance to help implement the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s General Assembly policy. The 218th General Assembly (2008) adopted a resolution on human rights violations in the Philippines.
The Uniting Church in Australia has initiated a letter-writing campaign on behalf of church leaders in the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). Human rights activists, including church leaders continue to face ongoing harassment including arrest, torture, and death. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has documented this oppression in a report entitled "Let the Stones Cry Out!" (PDF).
Current concern focuses on Pastor Berlin Guerrero and Pastor Rodel Canja. Pastor Berlin Guerrero is currently detained at the Cavite Provincial Jail in Trece Martirez City, Philippines where he has been held for over one year. Pastor Rodel Canja was abducted and tortured on 6 May 2008, and while being released on 9 May, holds grave fears for his and his family’s safety and security.
The Uniting Church in Australia suggests that correspondence be made with leaders of the Philippine government expressing our concern and identifies the following points to include in such correspondence:
- Express concern at the continued human rights violations against UCCP clergy and members, and specifically (most recently) the abductions of Pastors Berlin Guerrero and Rodel Canja;
- Express deep concern at the continued detention of Pastor Guerrero;
- Ask for the immediate and unconditional release of Pastor Guerrero, as the charges against him appear politically motivated;
- Acknowledge that the Supreme Court’s decision to defer the matter to the Philippine Court of Appeals means a significant delay in the possible release of Pastor Guerrero, and more stress to Pastor Guerrero and his family as he waits in detention; and
- Ask what progress has been made to bring the abductors of Pastor Guerrero and Pastor Canja to justice.
Send your emails or letters to:
Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel Street
San Miguel, Manila NCR 1005
Salutation: Your Excellency
The Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez
Secretary, Department of Justice
Republic of the Philippines
Padre Faura Street
Manila NCR 1004
Salutation: Dear Secretary Mr. Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr.
Department of National Defense
Room 301, DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo
EDSA, 1110 Quezon City
Salutation: Dear Secretary