A Massacre Most Foul, Gross, and Utterly Repugnant

The following statement comes from the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. It reflects on a massacre in Maguindanao on Mindanao Island.

NCCP Statement

It is a massacre most foul, gross, and utterly repugnant! 

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines joins the people in mourning. We reach  out in prayer and solidarity to the families of the victims of the massacre in Maguindanao. The  death toll of 46 people as of this writing, includes members of the media and two lawyers  known for their human rights advocacy. We also reach out to the relatives of those missing.  May the Holy Comforter be with them. 

Yet even as we grieve and mourn, we are outraged. We are outraged that government has not  acted with dispatch. Two days after news of the carnage broke out, the suspected mastermind  has not been taken into custody. From day one, the spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the  Philippines already identified the suspected mastermind – a known staunch ally of the  President and undeniably a political warlord in Maguindanao. We join the demand for the  Government to take action but, we are appalled that a state of emergency has been declared  in Maguindanao. For so long, Mindanao has been militarized and used to justify more military  hardware and budget. What other more powers does the government need?   

This massacre is a grim reminder of the pervading culture of impunity and the lack of respect  for human rights that has been in our midst and that has turned for the worse since 2001. We  are indignant of this continuing culture of impunity and the lack of political will of the  government to stop these killings. What government has been doing is the swift perpetuation  of injustice and the slow if not hollow dispensation of justice.  

The gruesome massacre of unarmed civilians is also a painful reminder that government  statements to the dismantling of political warlordism have been mere rhetoric. Government  has either turned a blind eye or entered into alliances with these warlords for political  expediency at the expense of creating democratic space. Political warlordism is a  manifestation of a feudal social order and we join the call that it should now be a thing of the  past. 

To our partners around the world, our deep gratitude for upholding us in your supplication  and affirming our calls. We pray that peace and justice be given a chance in Mindanao and  elsewhere in this country. We pray that all the resources that have been poured in Mindanao  bail the people out from the mire of poverty, neglect and human indignity. We pray that we all  rise from this blasphemy for the sake of the God who loves us all and calls us to be one people  and for the sake of our children and the children yet unborn.     

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a long history of ministry with the people of the Philippines.

The 218th General Assembly (2008) called Presbyterians to become more aware of the suffering and injustice—including murder, abduction, torture, and other gross human rights violations—endured by the leaders of churches and other civil society groups at the hands of elements of the Philippine military, and to pray faithfully for the safety, wisdom, and courage of the leadership of the Philippine churches and other civil society groups as they face state violence and oppression.

May God comfort those who grieve for the deaths at Maguindanao, work healing within those who are wounded, stir the conscience of those who are responsible that they might repent, strengthen those who seek justice, grant courage to church leaders and all who pursue human rights in the face of oppression, provide wisdom to the leaders of the country, break the hold of violence on human hearts, guide the people of the Philippines in the paths of peace and the ways of justice. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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