Tag Archives: AMRSP

[Statement] AMRSP solidarity statement for Mayor Aquino’s death, Otto de Vries, bloody Sunday, and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines

#HumanRights #Killings #RedTagging

AMRSP solidarity statement for Mayor Aquino’s death, Otto de Vries, bloody Sunday, and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines

From AMRSP FB page

We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’ – Jeremiah 8:15

What is happening in our land?

Violence continues to spiral uncontrollably and with such impunity in our beloved land. So much pain and anguish, hatred and division have afflicted our peoples and nation that we seem indifferent to these deadly events happening in our midst.

Read more

[Statement] Justice, not only for the Gregorios, but for all victims of violence at the hands of those in power -AMRSP

AMRSP STATEMENT ON THE MURDER OF SONYA AND FRANK GREGORIO

He comes. He ever comes.

This succinctly summarizes the reason for this merriment and celebration of this Christmas season. Despite the fact that we are living in a time of pandemic, as Christians, we are forever anticipating to celebrate the birth of Christ in our world.

In the midst of all our preparations, our senses are jarred with the brutal and cold-blooded murder of Sonya and Frank Gregorio. In the video clips circulating on social media, we witnessed their fate at the hands of Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca, who, without hesitation, brandished his power as a law enforcer and shot both mother and son. This reminds us of Lamech, known in the Old Testament for his reckless killings:

“Lamech said…: “Hear my voice; … listen to my utterance: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for bruising me” (Gen 4, 23).

It pains us to see how cheap life is valued by many in power nowadays. Equally disturbing is to hear how others defend this brazen act of injustice.

As Christians, our primary duty is to protect and respect all life, from conception to natural death. Did not our Lord say that He came to earth to give fulness of life to all? (cf. Jn 10,10). This duty should be more solemnly felt this season. We cannot afford to repeat Herod’s penchant to murder even his wives, his children and other relations on the basis of suspicion. We cannot afford to repeat his ordering to murder the innocent children in pursuit of the life of the newborn Baby Jesus.

The Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines expresses our condolences to the bereaved family of Sonya and Frank Gregorio. We will keep their souls in our prayers. At the same time, we also express our concern for all those traumatized and shocked by what we saw in the videos.

We also join the many calls for justice, not only for the Gregorios, but for all victims of violence at the hands of those in power. As one nation, may we find ourselves united in breaking the prevailing culture of violence, impunity and injustice. We re-affirm our commitment for life and for peace.

As we wait for the coming of our Savior, we say:
“Halina, Hesus, aming Mananakop
dusa ng ‘Yong bayan, masda’t abut-abot.
Sa pag-ibig, salat; katarunga’y kapos.
Tangi kang pag-asa, O Hesus!”
Come, Lord, heal our minds. Heal our souls.

For the AMRSP:
Sr. Malen A. Java, RC
Fr. Cielito R. Almazan, OFM
Co-Chairpersons

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[Statement] Jubilee for the Earth- The Season of Creation 2020 -AMRSP/JPICC

Jubilee for the Earth- The Season of Creation 2020

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic minimized human activity on the earth and silenced big industries.

The Earth flourished.

There are lessons to be learned.

Climate change caused by human invasions on biodiversity impacts on the health of both the Earth and human beings. A sick world is a sick people. Yet, the pandemic also brought home in real terms the meaning of Pope Francis’ concepts of “our common home” and humanity as being a single family. No country was spared from the Covid-19 virus, yet we also gained a deeper understanding of global solidarity to address the threats to public health caused by the climate crisis.

Another Laudatu Si concept made real, “the cry of the earth, the cry of the poor”. The poor and vulnerable are hardest hit by natural disasters and pandemics.

If we want to heal the earth and heal humanity, there can be no turning back to what was perceived as normal. Listen. Nature – is asking each person living on this earth to change and evolve non-consumerist lifestyles. Evolve new forms of social economic and political systems that promote equality and just peace. Systems that protect the health of both the environment and the people. There can be no turning back to what was perceived as normal. Pope Francis’ strong words must move us to action:

We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years. We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us. The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit. Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

Loren McClenachan, an interdisciplinary scientist who did intensive research on marine life history says, “We are living in a 10% percent world. An order of magnitude less that it was several generations ago. When you look back in time it used to be about 90 percent more, so the fish used to be 90 percent bigger we used to catch 90 percent more big fish, there used to be 90 percent more coral.”

A healthy biodiversity will lessen the probability of another pandemic from occurring. A healthy planet is a healthy people and can be, a world at peace.

There can be no turning back. In a post-Covid 19 virus world, governments and businesses must stop destructive practices such as the use of non-renewable energy mining, logging that leads to deforestation, industrial farming and fishing, industrial production of foods and consumer goods – that infringe on wildlife and the rights of nature. Governments must also make bolder steps to prevent wars and the nuclear arms race. At the heart of nature’s plea to every human being and all governments – respect and uphold the rights of nature and human rights. Live with justice, peace, charity and compassion in our hearts.

This year’s Season of Creation theme is Jubilee for the Earth. Rooted in the Bible, jubilee according to biblical regulations, had a special impact on the ownership and management of land in the Land of Israel. According to the Book of Leviticus, Hebrew slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven, and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. The modern-day implication of jubilee may mean no less that restoring the balance between nature and peoples, preventing wars, and upholding the “principles of equality, justice and sustainability and confirming the need for a prophetic voice in defence of our common home” Rev. Christian Krieger and H. Em. Card. Angelo Bagnasco President

The pandemic brought us face-to-face with our human vulnerability, death. But it also reaffirmed the value of life, human life and the life of nature, and the rare opportunity to act on our divinity, our innate capacities for goodness and greatness as “single human family” (laudatu Si)

A blessed and meaningful celebration of the Season of Creation!

AMRSP – Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc

 

[Statement] Of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) on current movements in Congress to enact a death penalty law

STATEMENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS SUPERIORS IN THE PHILIPPINES (AMRSP) ON CURRENT MOVEMENTS IN CONGRESS TO ENACT A DEATH PENALTY LAW

The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) has, time and again, declared its resolute opposition to the death penalty. Our life-giving and healing faith demands of us to value each and every single human being, each and every single creation, as a gift from our loving and compassionate God.

Ours is a God overflowing with love and compassion. Let us imitate him. Ours is a church that welcomes all, even the worst sinners, for we believe that God awaits their conversion. We have a God and Church that forgives, a God and Church that sees the dignity of us all — rich and poor, powerful and powerless, privileged and marginalized.

Thus, we are deeply concerned with the revival of the death penalty proposal in Congress. Are not the extrajudicial killings and deaths due to COVID-19 enough? Are we like the ancient people who offered human sacrifices to appease their gods? Are we gods ourselves whose thirst for human blood is so insatiable and who are addicted to more deaths? Have we run out of imagination that we have to resort to the death penalty as a convenient means to decongest our detention facilities? Should we not improve our justice system instead by appropriating more funds for it?

Now, even Sacred Scripture is used to justify the pro-death penalty stance. We are disheartened by this hazardous interpretation of the Bible proposed by some who says that since Jesus Christ was sentenced to die on the cross, the death penalty, therefore, is acceptable.

As taught in our schools and churches, may of all us – including you, our lawmakers – be reminded that Jesus Christ was brought before Pilate on false charges, prosecuted by a mock trial and convicted by popular acclamation. It was a travesty of justice that compelled Pontius Pilate to wash his hands of the evil deed. Sadly, many Christians loudly proclaim that death is acceptable and just. Again, let us be reminded that Jesus willingly died on the cross so that no one else – including you in government – will the same fate.

It is instructive for us to review what the Magisterium of the Catholic Church teaches about the death penalty.

On May 11, 2018, Pope Francis formally approved the modification of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), declaring that the death penalty is unacceptable in all cases. Prior to this, Church doctrine accepted the death penalty if it was “the only practicable way” to defend lives against unjust aggressors. According to Cardinal Luis Ladaria SJ, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “the new formulation of the Catechism expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium.” [1]

The revised text of CCC no. 2267 says that “(t)oday, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.” He adds that “more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.” [2] It is for this reason that the Church teaches that the practice is now inadmissible.

Above all, the Pope teaches us that death penalty “is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel, because a decision is voluntarily made to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of whom, in the last analysis, only God can be the true judge and guarantor.” [3]

On the practical side, there is no proof that the imposition of the death penalty will deter the commission of crimes. In fact, because of our flawed justice system, it is the poor who cannot afford their counsel and who are without connections who stand vulnerable to the death penalty. In a time when most of the world’s nations – including nearly every nation in Europe and Latin America – have already banned the death penalty[4], legalizing it once more in the Philippines time is not a sign of retrogression – not progression – as a country.

The Scripture says: “Thus, says the Lord, ‘Today, I call heaven and earth to witness against you: I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live.’” (Dt. 30, 19)

 

Signed:

Fr. Cielito R. Almazan, OFM
Sr. Marilyn A. Java, RC
AMRSP Co-Chairpersons
August 15, 2020

___________________________________

[1] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the Bishops Regarding the Revision of Number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Death Penalty (1 August 2018), 8.
[2] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, New revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty – Rescriptum “ex Audentia SS.mi” (2 August 2018).
[3] Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.
[4] Amnesty International, Global Report on Death Sentences and Execution 2019, London, 2020, 54-55.

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc

[Statement] Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines on the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Law

AMRSP Statement on the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Law

The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines is deeply saddened by the signing of the Anti-Terror Law which takes effect 15 days from now.

In a previous statement, we have joined the voices of concern and opposition to this draconian measure that we firmly believe will stifle basic rights and freedoms.

In light of faith, we cannot in conscience accede to a law that may assault human dignity and human rights. At a time that our people are battling the effects of Covid19, we find no reason to pass a law that does not serve to alleviate their miserable plight. Unemployment, the closure of businesses, the continuing spread of the virus, and the lack of relief for our people are the most pressing concerns at this time.

We welcome the move of lawyers, religious and other civic leaders in filing an urgent petition in the Supreme Court.

We pray that the Supreme Court grants the petition for a Temporary Restraining Order. We trust that the good women and men of the highest court of the land will be guided by the common good of all and by the Philippine Constitution. We implore them that in these gathering clouds of darkness, let the light of rule of law and ultimately, justice shine ever bright.

We ask all women and men of goodwill, fellow religious and all who cherish our rights and freedoms: Stand Your Ground and Be with the Poor and Downtrodden!
Truth, justice and peace will prevail.

“We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8

Signed:
FR. CIELITO R. ALMAZAN, OFM                                            SR. MARILYN A. JAVA, RC
AMRSP Co-Chairpersons

July 6, 2020

https://web.facebook.com/notes/amrsp-association-of-major-religious-superiors-in-the-philippines/amrsp-statement-on-the-enactment-of-the-anti-terrorism-law/2651885218246704/

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc

[Statement] AMRSP on the Anti Terrorism bill and the re-opening of churches

AMRSP on the Anti Terrorism bill and the re-opening of churches

“We wait for peace to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.” (Jer. 8:15)

We, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, are deeply concerned by troubling developments in our midst even as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc to our lives.

While our embattled nation continues to suffer from the tempests of the COVID-19 virus, and its effects on the lives of millions of Filipinos, especially the poor, the leaders of the land have, unfortunately, been trying to fast track the passage of a controversial House Bill (HB) No. 6875, which seeks to amend Republic Act 9372, also known as the “Human Security Act of 2007.”

On the 29th of May, 2020, the House of Representatives decided to adopt, in toto, the recently-approved Senate Bill entitled “An Act To Prevent, Prohibit and Penalize Terrorism, thereby Repealing Republic Act Number 9372, Otherwise Known As The ‘Human Security Act of 2007.’”. President Duterte then wrote to the Congress to deem the said bill as “priority”, thus expediting the usual process of legislation, or as Senate Pres. Sotto puts it, “deemed as passed.”

While we agree acts of violence have indeed ravaged our beloved land, causing the deplorable loss of lives of many of our sisters and brothers, and other effects of such adverse acts, we firmly believe that only through efforts for peaceful resolution of hostilities while addressing the root causes of such violent acts comprehensively, and not just militarily, will genuinely answer the roots of violence that is rampaging across our land.

We are women and men of peace. Dialogue is our way and we believe peace is the fruit of justice. Thus, we denounce the wicked and the ruthless as the Holy bible says: “The wicked man writhes in pain all his days, and numbered are the years stored up for the ruthless.” (Job 15:20)

In the midst of a pandemic, it seems the government has been deaf to the cries for mass testing, relief for the most vulnerable and the poorest of the poor, protection for our health workers and a comprehensive plan to address this public health issue without draconian measures to curtail fundamental rights and freedoms.

These are the urgent concerns that we as a people need to address. These are the challenges that the government can address by channeling resources for its resolution.

Instead, we see our legislators addressing other peripheral issues that fail to answer lingering questions about the effectiveness, efficiency, competence, and foresight of government leaders. Covid19 is the enemy in our midst. Terrorism is not our immediate concern. Marawi’s rehabilitation and the continued displacement of communities should be our priority. People’s health, safety, and well-being should be first in our agenda.

Sadly, we traverse the path of the wicked and ruthless. Our legislators chose to prioritize an Anti-Terrorism Bill that seeks to amend the Human Security Act of 2007.

We raise our concerned voices over this bill that may curtail fundamental rights and freedoms.

1. We are bothered by the broad and vague definition of terrorism and terrorist. It can include acts of dissent, free speech, right to assemble, right to organize, freedom of belief, among others. By such a broad definition it is open to abuse and misuse.

While the Section IV of the Bill does indeed acknowledge that “terrorism, as defined in this Section shall not include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass action, and other similar exercises of civil and political rights”, Human Rights lawyers, civil libertarians and other cause-oriented groups have raised their concerns over the bill, saying that there are red flags all over the bill, thus prone to be misused by persons in authority.

With the very vague definition of terrorism and other terrorist activities (SB Sec 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) in the said Bill, and the track record of the current administration in cracking down on any perceived dissent (which became even more evident by its crackdown on certain groups and even individuals who posted their criticism on how the government is handling the current crisis in social media) this Bill can be used to stifle dissent and curtail rights to free speech, to organize and form associations, to peaceable assemble in redress of grievances.

2. We are wary that the bill runs contrary to the fundamental law of our land – the Philippine Constitution.

We find that the contents of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill, which is now being rushed in Congress, to be terribly disconcerting to say the least. An example is the creation of the Anti-Terror Council (ATC), based on Sec. 25 of SB 1083. According to the SB, the ATC will be composed of the Executive, the secretaries of the DILG, DND, DFA, DOJ, DOF, ICT, the National Security Adviser, and the AMLC Executive Director can “designate”, after finding of probable cause, any person or entity as a terrorist or a terrorist group. However, there are no provisions on how these persons or entities unilaterally branded as “terrorists” can present counter-evidences proving otherwise in the courts of law, and their bank accounts and assets “froze” by the AMLC (exactly what happened to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, our oldest Mission Partner, after going through the ordeal of incessant red-tagging by the AFP).

Even the mere powers of the ATC, such as being able to order the arrest of any suspected individual and detention without charges for up to 14 days (extendable to 10 days), is already a clear usurpation of the power of the Judiciary and a violation of the Constitutional provision of allowing only up to 72 hours (3 days) of detention. Even the provision regarding the 60-90 days of surveillance and possible wiretapping of communications which only requires written authorization from the Court of Appeals (Sec 16, Sec 18, Sec 19), are already clear violations of the right to privacy of communications based upon mere suspicion. These are reminiscent of the PD 1836 and PD 1877 of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

3. We are deeply concerned that this bill if it becomes law will further shrink democratic space and curtail fundamental rights and freedoms. We are witness to the unceasing attacks on the right to life through extrajudicial killings, the right to be free from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, free speech and freedom of the press, right to information and right to organize. Even now organizations and individuals critical of government policy have been red-tagged and subjected to harassment and vilification online and offline. This bill will only exacerbate the very precarious human rights situation.

4. We believe that this bill will only worsen the division and disunity of our society and peoples. By drawing the line between friend and enemy we might see no end to the spiral of violence in our midst. Four years ago, it was a war against drugs and drug addicts, then a new front was opened with a whole of nation approach to end the local communist insurgency and now we seek a new war that may encompass and consume us all – a war against “terrorism and terrorists”.

5. We fear the return of an authoritarian order with too much power concentrated in the hands of the executive branch of government. The law is weaponized to deal with perceived enemies and critics without resorting to an open declaration of martial law.

Political dissent and criticism are very much part of democracy. They ensure the checks-and-balance of powers of the officials of the government, pushes them to act more justly, removes any ambition of any ruling administration to authoritarianism, and helps to shape the course of the people’s narrative as a nation. Any attempts to silence or stifle them is a great disservice to the aspirations of our nation to be a “just and humane society” (Preamble of the 1987 Philippine Constitution).

Now is not the time to further erode our people’s confidence in the government. We urgently need to address the Covid19 crisis as a united people.

We have transitioned to a general community quarantine and businesses are open and the working class has been ordered to return to work. Business, as usual, is the talk of the town with no mass transport, no safeguards for workers and no clear plan for the future

“Then the LORD said to Moses: Go to Pharaoh and tell him: Thus says the LORD: Let my people go to serve me.” (Exod. 7:26)

Meanwhile, churches remain under strict rules of 10 persons in a church activity. If we can open businesses and malls where surely mass gatherings and contacts can occur why can we not open churches so that our people may find solace and may partake of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? Our frontliners need most of these places of worship to keep their sanity and draw inspiration to make them stronger in fighting the pandemic.

We understand the necessity of starting up the economy to stave off recession and collapse. We are one with the government in this endeavor but we must assert that churches fulfill an essential function in our – spiritual sustenance and upliftment. In the lockdown, it was the churches who responded and ably provided relief and other forms of assistance to the poor and dehumanized. With sufficient safeguards to be put in place, we find no reason to prevent the faith communities to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and be in communion with our Triune God.

Our people need hope and our faith renews that hope even in these most trying of times. Allow us to pray, allow us to heal and find lasting love in His forgiving and compassionate arms.

Signed:

Fr. Cielito R. Almazan, OFM Sr. Marilyn Java, RC
AMRSP Co-Chairpersons

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc

[Statement] Hope in the face of sickness and death -AMRSP

We, the consecrated people, have been trained to hope against hope (Romans 4:18). And we are challenged to show this to people whom we have professed to serve, especially in this time when this contagious pandemic called COVID-19 is threatening all of us. We too are vulnerable and would like to take precautions.

As men and women of prayer, let us pray that our government leaders, national and local, may find a way to contain the rapid spread of the virus and that our population as one Filipino people may cooperate with the doctors, health workers and military on the ground.

As prophets and mystics of our times, in cooperation with our bishops and the clergy, we are expected to show our solidarity and oneness with the poor who are bearing most of the adverse impact of the “enhanced community quarantine.” They are the informal settlers, the daily-wage earners and the marginalized, the homeless, the street dwellers, the jeepney, bus and tricycle drivers, the garbage collectors, and many others. They are not far away from us. They live near our convents. Our gift to them is our prophetic witnessing – PRESENCE.

Examples

Presence means being visible to them in the streets, like the Pope walking in the empty street in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The Pope somehow kept the prophetic words, “they shall know that there was a prophet among them” (Ezek. 33:33).

You can do more like Fred, 40 years old, who showed much hope in the prison cell for eight years, being accused of selling shabu, but was acquitted for being falsely accused. He slept beside his fellow-inmate who had advanced tuberculosis. “We shared the same breath, but I did not get tuberculosis. I do not think any virus can infect me now.” Fred lost his job as a laborer in a construction company. He has four children and a wife. His survival plan? “Simple lang po napulot kong aral sa loob, kumapit sa Diyos na siyang pag-asa.” (I learned a simple lesson in prison, hold on to God who is hope.”)

Hope

In these long days of uncertainty, confusion, and want, let the presence of the members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines be a sign of God’s presence of hope and love. Let our inherent gift of fraternal joy as members of our congregations be more contagious than the virus itself, to reverse the gloomy mood of our times. “Where there is sadness, let me sow joy.” This is precisely our vocation as prophets of our times, to tell the world that the downward trend can be reversed, by our attitudes and authentic witnessing.

We can now begin our healings by communicating our hope, faith, and charity, in the groceries, supermarkets, and drug stores, and elsewhere and through the social media, as we await for the vaccines which we hope will protect us from sickness and untimely death, but will make us live and turn us into persons and communities more grateful to God who is our true hope and salvation.

To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

For AMRSP,
Fr. Cielito R. Almazan, OFM
Sr. Marilyn A. Java, RC
Co-Chairpersons, AMRSP

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Put human rights at the center of policies & development -AMRSP-Mission Partners

“My order is shoot to kill you. I don’t care about human rights, you better believe me.”
– President Rodrigo Duterte 1
And true to his words, drug-related deaths are now into the thousands. Yet there are no clear statistics on how many have in fact been killed. 2

A. SOURCE: #RealNumbersPH
Number KILLED in War on Drug: 5,526 deaths of “drug personalities”. (June 2019)

B. SOURCE: Philippine National Police
Number KILLED in War on Drug: 6,700

C. SOURCE: Commission on Human Rights
Number KILLED in War on Drugs: 27,000 drug related killings including drug-related killings carried out by vigilantes

We have more than 30,000 new martyrs in our midst. A new theology of martyrdom, a new martyrology for our times is an also act of resistance. 3
Following their commitment to prophetic witnessing, the Churches in the Philippines – Protestant, Evangelical, and Catholic, on their own accord, including non-government organizations, peoples’ organizations and government leaders intensified their protests against the human rights violations on the poor, women, children, those who resisted and opposed this madness of governance.

And like a relentless force, the government machinery, pitted those critical to the President Duterte’s policies against the people – the yellow oppositionist, the red terrorists, the seditionists. Everyone who stood for truth became enemies of the state.

 On July 2019, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, filed charges of inciting to sedition, cyber libel and obstruction of Justice against thirty-five personalities, including Vice President Robredo, members of the Liberal party, Bishops Villegas, Ongtioco, David; Fathers Albert, Robert and Flavie over the viral videos of Peter Joemel Advincula that tagged President Duterte and his family in the drug trade. Some superiors of religious congregations, implicated by Peter Joemel were issued summons to appear for questioning by the PNP-CIDG.

 In quick succession, the Makabayan bloc in Congress, Bayan Muna, Ibon Foundation, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Gabriela, ACT, the National Council of Churches were tagged as communist fronts. Offices of some of these organizations were raided and their staffs arrested.

 On December 6, Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS, National Coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), was granted temporary freedom from the perjury case filed against her by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., following the warrant of arrest issued by a Quezon City court on Thursday. 4

Sadly, many Filipinos equate these human rights violations against life and freedom – as President Duterte’s brand of political will.

On December 10, 2018, Pope Francis gave this message in the International Conference on “Human Rights in the Contemporary World: Achievements, Omissions and Negations,” Dec. 10, 2018, at the Pontifical Gregorian University. 5

This exigency of justice and solidarity has special significance for us Christians, because the Gospel itself invites us to turn our gaze to the littlest of our brothers and sisters, to be moved to compassion (Cf. Matthew 14:14) and to commit ourselves concretely to alleviate their sufferings.
On this occasion, I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to all those that have institutional responsibilities, asking them to put human rights at the center of all policies, including those of cooperation for development, even when that means going against the current.

We call on all public servants to govern from the ethics of decency, fair play, justice, social equity and respect for the poor, marginalized and the most vulnerable.

We, the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Association of the Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, together with the seven Mission Partners, will continue to walk together with the universal and local Church in “defense of human dignity, human rights, human lives; a defense of the liberation and well-being that Jesus brings.” 6

#RESIST

1 https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/1999755/i-dont-care-about-human-rights-philippines-duterte
2 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50236481
3 https://www.facebook.com/notes/danny-pilario/extrajudicial-killings-the-church-confronts-the-state-in-the-philippines/10157446976989700/
4 https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1198933/nun-in-esperon-perjury-case-posts-bail#ixzz67Zr6bxGQ
5 https://zenit.org/articles/popes-appeal-human-rights-must-be-at-center-do-not-fear-going-against-the-grain/
6 https://www.facebook.com/notes/danny-pilario/extrajudicial-killings-the-church-confronts-the-state-in-the-philippines/10157446976989700/

https://www.facebook.com/notes/amrsp-association-of-major-religious-superiors-in-the-philippines/put-human-rights-at-the-center-of-policies-development/2211671635601400/

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[Statement] Solidarity Statement for Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS -AMRSP

Photo grabbed from AMRSP

We, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, express our support to Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS, 80, the former National Coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, the oldest Mission Partner of AMRSP. Likewise, we decry the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office for issuing a warrant of arrest against her for perjury.

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines has been active in the advocacy of land reform and rights of the farmers. For 50 years, RMP was able to expand its ranks of rural missionaries all over the country, and fulfill its mandate of serving the rural poor. During Sr. Elen’s term as National Coordinator, massive human rights violations, land grabbing, and other farmers and indigenous people’s rights violations were committed. Faithful to its mandate, RMP assisted the communities affected by conducting programs, calling to stop bombings and militarization of rural communities, documenting human rights violations and submitting them to various platforms, and providing venues for them to share the realities on the grounds, especially among the religious and clergy.

Sr. Elen is charged with perjury by the National Security Adviser, Hermogenes Esperon, Jr, after the dismissal of the petition of RMP’s petition for Writ of Amparo and habeas data, together with other cause-oriented organizations which are being “red-tagged” by the AFP.

We are saddened by this blatant act of harassment against Sr. Elen, whose only intention even at her old age is to fulfill RMP’s mission and mandate to bring Christ’s presence to the rural poor, though she might have some imperfections, human as she is.

The government should pay more attention to the pressing issues like rampant human rights violations and other atrocities being committed against our farmers and indigenous peoples in the countryside and be more considerate to old people. By this we shall know that our government knows its priorities. Reflect on God’s words:

Let the judges… investigate it thoroughly, if the witness is a false witness and has falsely accused the other (Deut. 19:18).

Do you think you can steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, sacrifice to Baal, follow other gods that you do not know, and then come and stand in my presence in this house, which bears my name, and say: “We are safe! We can commit all these abominations again!”? (Jer. 7:9-10)

We call on our fellow consecrated women and men, our mission partners, and the entire people of God to pray for the safety and well-being of Sr. Elen and all who defend the rights of the poor.

As prophets of our times, let us continue to speak out to establish the reign of God where there is justice, peace, security, love and charity.

AMRSP Chairpersons
Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM
Sr. Marilyn Java, RC

https://www.facebook.com/notes/amrsp-association-of-major-religious-superiors-in-the-philippines/solidarity-statement-for-sr-elenita-belardo-rgs/2210375075731056/

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[Event] 5TH SOLIDARITY MASS -AMRSP

Come and join us, and be in unity and solidarity with victims of injustices and Church attacks, and as we also celebrate the International Human Rights Day! �

5TH SOLIDARITY MASS
December 10, 2019 | 5 pm | Church of Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University

The symbolic candle lighting along Katipunan Avenue will follow after the Eucharistic Mass. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own candles.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2497433067246314/

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[Event] Banal na Misa para sa Katotohanan, Katarungan at Kapayapaan -AMRSP

Join us on November 5, 2019, Tuesday, 6 pm, at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish for #RESIST Eucharistic Celebration and silent protest for all the social injustices that is happening in our country. Please bring your candles.

“Manalangin, Magsumamo sa Dakilang Lumikha – Ipag-adya Mo kami sa lahat ng Masama.”
(Pray, plead to Our Great Creator – Deliver us, Lord, from evil.)

#Katotohanan
#Katarungan
#kapayapaan
#RESIST

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[Event] “SAMBAYANIHAN: Pag-aalala, Panalangin, Pagpiglas” A Martial Law Commemoration

On the 47th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, we warmly invite you to be with us in:

“SAMBAYANIHAN: Pag-aalala, Panalangin, Pagpiglas”
A Martial Law Commemoration

September 21, 2019
3 pm
Christ the King Seminary Covered Court

There will be a cultural program, Eucharistic celebration and a symbolic candle lighting.

We hope to be with you, as one AMRSP community! See you there.

https://www.facebook.com/events/380695252623839/

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[Video] #RESIST Solidarity Mass and Candle Lighting -AMRSP

 

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.
God will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Don’t forget to SHARE this video and SUBSCRIBE to our channel!
Youtube: https://bit.ly/2Zb9aAl

Like and share our social media page!
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/amrsp.org

Music: “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo” by Jim Paredes

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[Statement] AMRSP Statement on the occasion of Confessio Peccati 2019

AMRSP Statement on the occasion of Confessio Peccati 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are gathered today for our annual Confessio Peccati in order to express the sincere repentance of our sins and to ask for forgiveness from God. First and foremost, we ask for the forgiveness of Christ, our teacher, and master, whom we have sinned against because of our weaknesses and infraction of our vows to live as consecrated women and men, living in imitation of Christ; the poor, chaste and obedient One. We ask for His forgiveness for the times that we have failed to be authentic witnesses of His mercy and compassion because of our insensitivities, cowardice, and desire to protect ourselves instead of dying for others.

We likewise ask for the forgiveness of our sins against the poor, whom we have failed to respond when they asked for our solidarity and presence.

We are called to be servant-leaders. And as servant-leaders, we are confronted every day with the worsening conditions of our people, many of whom suffer in silence. The environment is being destroyed at a rapid scale by the so-called development projects and indiscriminate logging and mining companies. The farmers remain landless and are being subjected to various abuses. The laborers have no security due to contractualization, low wages, and unjust labor practices. Church people and human rights defenders are often met with outright hostility and death threats. The blood of the poor continues to soak the land as the unjust war on drugs continues to target the poor, while the syndicates that perpetuate the illegal trade remain unscathed. The urban poor communities are being continually demolished and driven away like rats in the name of the build-build-build policy which seeks to “develop” the economy but without due regard to the poor who will bear the brunt of this development aggression.

Today, violence is the new normal with perpetrators going scot free; democratic institutions are systematically weakened, and religion and women are mocked and disdained. Lies are peddled as truth through systematic disinformation. Subservience to foreign interest is given priority. The youth are abandoned and left in the dark.

Therefore, let us open our hearts to the movements of the Spirit and break the walls that separate us from the people and take the steps towards forging and strengthening stronger unity with the people. We are responsible to one another, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and we are to “smell like the sheep”, as his holiness Pope Francis challenges us. As we continue our prophetic witnessing in this challenging time, we always put in our hearts the words of Jesus the Christ, whom we have vowed to follow:

“If I then, your Teacher and Lord, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13: 14-15)


Support #KarapatDapat na Agenda campaign! Click the link to know more.

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Event] Int’l Human Rights Day Eucharistic Celebration -AMRSP

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Peace and all good!

This coming Monday, December 10, is International Human Rights Day. What makes this year’s Human Rights Day very important and significant is that it is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 20thyear of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

We are also facing challenging times with Human Rights and Democracy being assaulted here in the Philippines and globally. Because we are now confronted with the resurgence of dictatorship and the slow and near demise of democracy, there has never been a more urgent time to make our presence felt publicly and mobilize our human rights defenders, workers, advocates, activists and community sectoral partners as a movement on the streets for the Defense of Human Rights and Resistance to Dictatorship.

Our December 10, Human Rights Day public action is a United Peoples March for Human Rights or Martsa ng Mamamayan para sa Karapatang Pantao which is a series of events/programs spanning locations from Welcome Rotonda where the Human Rights Community shall be massing-up, to Saint Anthony Shrine, Bustillos for a Solidarity Mass with the Bishops and EJK Victims Family spearheaded by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines. It will serve as a Thanksgiving Mass for the victory on Kian’s Case. It is also a Eucharistic Celebration in lieu of the International Human Rights Day 2018 Celebration.

Similar to the United Peoples SONA last July and the United Peoples Action last September, we shall be converging and joining forces with other big Human Rights Defense and Anti-Dictatorship formations in the Philippines.

All AMRSP member congregations are invited to attend and to send your confreres and affiliated institutions to the said Eucharistic Celebration as we show our love, support and solidarity to our dear Bishops and to all the families of the victims of EJK.

Thank you and may the Lord give you peace!

AMRSP Secretariat

https://web.facebook.com/amrsp.org/photos/a.1313258292109410/1637908999644336/?type=3&theater

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] on the brutal killing of Fr. Mark Ventura -AMRSP

AMRSP statement on the brutal killing of Fr. Mark Ventura

photo credits: Maria Tan

AMRSP joins the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, fellow religious and all people of goodwill in mourning over the death of the young, vibrant and committed Catholic priest, Fr. Mark Ventura of Gattaran, Cagayan.

Fr. Mark is known to be passionate in his ministry and dedicated advocate of the care for creation as he spoke against mining, the empowerment of indigenous peoples and love for the poor in the peripheries.

Again, we ask, why waste the life of this man called, consecrated, ordained and blessed by God? Do the perpetrators think they can frustrate God’s will and advance their own wider evil scheme by eliminating this minister of God? They are mistaken.

As religious superiors, we are really saddened and outraged at his loss. The death of one priest is too many. It takes so much time and effort to produce a good one like Fr. Mark, only to be taken away just like that. O my God! “Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord!” (Ps 130,1) Lord, protect our priests. Let his blood water the seeds of more vocations, as we and our members kneel down again to pray for the repose of his soul.

We call upon the government authorities to work harder and hasten to solve this crime, punish the perpetrators and protect the lives of our peace loving priests and their mission partners. This will bring healing to those who have been shocked and traumatized by this appalling crime incident.

We will also be consoled when no one else will be added in the list of our martyrs like Fr. Marcelito Paez, Fr. Tullio Pavalli, Fr. Rudy Romano, the Gomburza and the persecuted.

To Fr. Mark’s family friends, parishioners and colleagues in the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, we offer our deepest sympathies. Condolence po!

In this Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, we in AMRSP again reiterate our commitment to serve the poor in our country as prophets and mystics of our times.

Follow AMRSP @
Website: http://www.amrsp.ph
Facebook: @amrsp.org

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] AMRSP on Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS illegal arrest and detention by the Bureau of Immigration

AMRSP statement on Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS
illegal arrest and detention by the Bureau of Immigration

Photo from GMA NEWS Network

The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines expresses its solidarity with Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS, in her work of proclaiming the good news of salvation and liberation to the poor and powerless. As religious and consecrated persons, we stand with her and all who do God’s mission of care and compassion for His anawim, the poor of the land.

We are shocked that after 27 years of dedicated service to the poor, Sr. Pat was unduly arrested and detained for allegedly being an “undocumented alien” and for participating in “political activities.” It is simply unacceptable that in the age of computerization, the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation could not verify that Sr. Pat had a valid missionary visa. This to us is harassment of an advocate of the rights of the poor.

We demand that the rights of Sr. Pat be respected, and so the rights of our mission partners, foreigner or Filipino, who truly work for justice in our country. Let the government agencies, especially the BID, not hamper the prophetic work of our foreign missionaries to alleviate the lives of the poor and powerless.

Moreover, Sr. Pat is a missionary for Life, Human Rights and Justice. She can only be considered undesirable alien to those who seek to muzzle the truth and foist tyranny upon us.

We stand with Sr. Pat and all human rights defenders. Even in her old age, Sr. Pat is fulfilling her prophetic mission to be in solidarity with the poor and powerless. And for this, she should be commended, not deported or harassed.

Once again, we in the AMRSP, stand our ground. We continue to obey God’s mandate to quench the thirst for justice and peace in our country.

Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM (SGD) Sr. Regina Kuizon, RGS (SGD)
AMRSP Co- Chairpersons

Follow AMRSP @
Website: http://www.amrsp.ph
Facebook: @amrsp.org

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Press Release] Priests and religious people say “mea culpa” -AMRSP

Priests and religious people say “mea culpa”

The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), in celebration of the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, will hold a CONFESSIO PECCATI, which literally means “confession of sins”, and PENITENTIAL WALK dubbed as “Daan ng Krus, Daan ng Paghilom”, on March 21, Wednesday, 3pm, at Sto. Domingo Church, Quezon City.

The CBCP Pastoral Exhortation for this year reminds us that while there are many reasons to celebrate and to rejoice, this year also invites all priests and consecrated persons to “sincere reflection and humble repentance and reparation” for the many times that they have scandalized the people by living contrary to a life proper to a priest and religious

The Penitential Rite is modelled to a similar rite initiated by Pope John Paul II in 2002 for the sins committed by the Catholic Church and is, for this occasion, contextualized in Philippine social realties.

The rite will begin with the CONFESSIO PECCATI to be presided by Most. Rev. Socrates Villegas, DD, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan at 3pm. This will be followed by the Penitential Walk and Stations of the Cross towards San Pedro Bautista Church.

The Penitential Walk, a re-enactment of the fourteen stations of the suffering of Jesus Christ, will mirror pressing social realities affecting the country: hunger, poverty, homelessness, human trafficking, drug addiction, summary executions, ecological destruction – the peripheries where consecrated persons need to be present today.

During these difficult times, the Association believes that a spirit of dialogue and transformation can happen if the consecrated persons and clergy acknowledge and own their faults and mistakes and resolve to walk their talk, live their faith.

Let this Penitential Walk become a way of healing the Church, people and country.

For more details please contact Fr. Dexter Toledo, OFM, the Co-Executive Secretary-AMRSP
at 631-8948.

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] NO to a charter change that will further entrench political dynasties, extend terms of office and surrender our sovereignty! -AMRSP

NO to a charter change that will further entrench political dynasties, extend terms of office and surrender our sovereignty!

STATEMENT ON THE 32ND ANNIVERSARY OF EDSA I

“If my people… shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence,
and turn from their evil ways, I will forgive them their sins, and I will revive their land.” 2 Chr 7:14

We, the members of the ASSOCIATION OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS SUPERIORS IN THE PHILIPPINES, join the whole nation in celebrating the 32nd Anniversary of the 1986 EDSA Revolution. From the dark years of martial law until the fall of the dictatorship, the Church had played an important role. Throughout the years, the Church has had an undeniable influence in shaping the Philippines’ history.

The birth of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) in the early 70s, in particular, was a reaction and an answer to the realities during those turbulent years. This year, in celebration of the anniversary of People Power I, the AMRSP also rekindle that fire of hope in a miracle that a peaceful revolution is indeed possible.

To dream the impossible dream – At EDSA we fulfilled a seemingly impossible dream. A united people toppled a dictatorship after 14 long years of tyranny and darkness. At EDSA, we shouted NEVER AGAIN! The aftermath of EDSA I saw in the Filipino nation a genuine sense of hope. Our bishops in those times saw the events of February 1986 as having renewed the Filipinos’ faith in each other, the faith in their nation, and deeper still, our faith in God who writes our history.

To fight the unbeatable foe – Fourteen long years of struggle and resistance paid for by blood, sweat and tears of our martyrs and heroes paved the way for the EDSA uprising. The unsung, faceless and nameless heroes and martyrs of the resistance paid with their lives so that we may taste freedom and democracy. We showed the world that dictatorship can be toppled. Tyranny can collapse in the face of a united and determined people rising up to change their lot.

To bear with unbearable sorrow – More than 100,000 victims of human rights violations and their descendants still bear the sorrow of a disappeared kin, a salvaged son or daughter, a tortured freedom fighter and the years of separation because of imprisonment.

To run where the brave dare not go. – AMRSP cast its lot with the poor, deprived, oppressed but struggling sectors of our society. True to its prophetic tradition it members immersed themselves in factories, slums, haciendas, in the lupang ninuno of the IPs and lumads, in the mountains even. And these they all did, our forebears, to “right the unrightable wrong”, “to love pure and chaste” not from afar but totally immersed in the daily life-struggles of the workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, urban poor, women and youth.

At EDSA we reached that unreachable star!

Today we are once again called to continue to dream and to toil in the vineyard to realize that dream. The struggle to emancipate our people from poverty and want remains an “unbeatable foe”. Dynasties and elitism remain an “unrightable wrong”. Tyranny and the insatiable lust for wealth and power remain the bane of our leaders. Hate and divisions reign in our politics, culture and social life! Indeed there is a pressing need to change ourselves and our society!

This year, the Philippine Church celebrates the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons. These same people stood side by side with other Filipinos and faced the danger of being killed; men and women armed with rosaries, flowers and prayers. The legacy of EDSA I and the lessons that we learn from it bid us to assert and fight for the following ideals:

Never Again to tyranny and dictatorship!
Yes to rule of law and justice!
Yes to an equitable distribution of our wealth and resources!
No to political dynasties!
Yes to people empowerment and a government for, of and by the people!

Today we say NO to a charter change that will further entrench political dynasties, extend terms of office and surrender our sovereignty!

Today we march for our rights, our freedoms and our dreams for a better life for our people!

Today we light a candle for peace and justice, for all of Creation. Today we light a candle in hope that we may be led to the path of righteousness and a land flowing with milk and honey.

Follow AMRSP @
Website: http://www.amrsp.ph
Facebook: @amrsp.org

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] AMRSP’S Statement on Federalism and Charter Change

AMRSP’S Statement on Federalism and Charter Change

The wisdom from above is first pure… open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (James 3:17)

We as a Filipino nation are again at the crossroads. We are facing a big challenge to change or not to change our form of government from present unitary system to federalism.

We in the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) call on all concerned Filipino citizens to discern well the will of God for us and for the generations to come. Reckless decisions will surely lead our nation into chaos and bleak future.

On January 29, 2018 at the Institute for Religious Formation and Studies (IFRS), forty two religious superiors and one hundred eight consecrated men and women with their lay and mission partners reflected on these questions: Why the rush to have a federal form of government? Why now? Why change the 1987 Philippine Constitution which is a product of the people’s long struggle for democracy, good governance and social justice?

The train of Charter Change and Federalism is gathering speed at the Congress and threatens to ram through the shift to federalism even without widespread, thorough, sane and sober discussions and debates on the issue.

We are deeply bothered by the partisanship that has now taken over the reins of charter change and federalism. A shameless proposal to extend terms of office has been inserted to the legislative draft at the lower house. Threats have been hurled at local government units who will not toe the line. This does not augur well for a free and informed discussion on the issues at hand.

We are concerned that the push for charter change and federalism train will divert our legislators and peoples’ attention from the more pressing problems of poverty and a humane quality of life; of empowerment and entrenched political dynasties; of integrity of creation in the midst of a murderous rampage to pillage and desecrate the environment; of the continuing diaspora of our fellow Filipinos to distant lands and the wholeness and well-being of the family; of the assaults on our national sovereignty and the need to safeguard what is rightfully ours; the systematic massacre of alleged drug addicts and pushers and our right to life; the defiance of the rule of law and the weakening of our democratic institutions; and the insidious attacks on human dignity and human rights.

We are one with our bishops in declaring that “the solution we seek is ultimately the transformation of our political culture… Without conversion of mindsets, the new political wine of Charter change will remain in old political wine-skins, and merely end up bursting the hope for a new political culture.”

We, therefore, during this Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, call on all the members of our congregations to help facilitate the discernment of the citizenry, making use of our school, convent and church facilities and premises, to make a wise collective decision in this historic moment. As prophets and mystics of our times, we encourage all Filipino people, with their hearts and minds purified, to engage in a lively discussion to ensure that it is us, not just a few, who are charting the future of our nation. To wit,

1. Create and widen Circles of Conversations on the current situation and to amplify awareness on the 1987 Philippine Constitution, human rights, human dignity, justice and peace for an informed and enlightened faithful.

2. Disseminate the CBCP Pastoral Statement to our communities and encourage discussions and reflections from our fellow religious, consecrated persons, lay partners and students and all who take part in our ministries.

3. To prepare our communities for calls to action when we are called upon to defend dignity and democracy.

Knowing our limitations as servant leaders, political or religious, we pray to God for guidance,

“God of our ancestors, Lord of mercy, you who have made all things by your Word and in your wisdom have established humankind to rule the creatures produced by you, and to govern the world in holiness and righteousness, and to render judgment in integrity of heart, give us Wisdom, the consort at your throne, and do not reject us from among your children, for we are your servants, the children of your maidservant, persons weak and short-lived and lacking in comprehension of judgment and of laws.”

(adapted from Wisdom 9,1-5)

Signed, this 31st day of January 2018, for the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines:

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

« Older Entries