Unabated human rights violations continually hurt God and the Church
Most Rev. Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D.
Head Convenor, Visayas Clergy Discernment Group
December 10, 2012
Blessed John Paul II commended the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948, as “a true milestone on the path of humanity’s moral progress” (JP 2, 34th General Assembly of the United Nations).
But as we commemorate the 64th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Universal Human Rights Day, we continue to assert that the unabated human rights violations in the country are fundamental breaches of the laws of God and the teachings of the Church.
Genesis 1:27 says that God created man in his own image. The human individual, then, possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 357). We see in our neighbors, the living image of our Creator, and we show our love of God and neighbor through respecting our neighbor’s dignity.
But the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) recently condemned the continuing human rights violations in the country under the Aquino government, particularly cases of extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders.
In Cebu, we support the advocacies of the Archdiocesan Discernment Group led by Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma in defending the rights of our marginalized brothers and sisters in the rural and urban areas.
The labor sector in the Mactan Export Processing Zone and in other factories in Cebu has to contend with unjust labor practices, union busting, contractualization, and many other oppressive and anti-labor practices.
In Barangay Luz of Cebu City, urban poor households were demolished even without adequate relocation sites facilitated. Former President Ramon Magsaysay gave them the relocation site in the said Barangay in the 1950′s.
The land tilled by farmers in Aloguinsan, Cebu since the time of their ancestors are now claimed by a rich landed family.
The local government is reclaiming seabeds in Cordova, Cebu in order to build golf courses and five star hotels. This will surely wipe out the livelihood of poor fisherfolks in the area, and will destroy seagrass beds and the ecosystem of corals connected to the double-barrier reef of the Danajon Bank in Bohol.
In other areas of the country, we are alarmed of the killing of anti-mining advocates who fight against large-scale mining.
The current human rights situation show that as a community, we have been remiss in respecting the dignity of our neighbors and the integrity of creation; and if this continues, justice and peace would be impossible to achieve.
As a community of persons, we must be steadfast in our duty to work for the good of all, the common good: to destroy the structures of sin, and build a society of justice, love and peace. May Jesus, the Prince of Peace of Christmas, defend the human rights of His brothers and sisters here in the Philippines and in the whole world.
BISHOP GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro/ Head Convenor of the Visayas Clergy Discernment Group (VCDG)
Tel. No. (033) 3291625
VISAYAS CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
E-Mail Address: email@example.com
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