Filipino Activists Seek Solidarity

Anglican Journal, April 2007 | Go to article overview

Filipino Activists Seek Solidarity


STAFF

A five-member delegation of Filipino church leaders and human rights advocates traveled to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa in March to appeal for solidarity amid what they reported to be a continuing rise in political killings in the Philippines.

Since 2001, the delegation said, more than 800 church workers, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, labour organizers, peasant leaders and heads of political organizations have been killed, reportedly by police and military agents of the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

"I have been going around telling my story, but mine is only one case," said Dr. Constancio Claver, a medical doctor serving indigenous communities in Northern Luzon, who survived an assassination attempt that killed his wife in 2006. Dr. Claver is a leader of the political group, Bayan Muna (Country First), which has been branded by the Philippine military as a communist front. Dr. Claver, who sustained three gunshot wounds, has been unable to continue his practice following serious injury to his left arm. "I'm also now without a home. I've had to move around constantly and clandestinely since the death threats have continued," he told a gathering in Toronto jointly organized by the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund of the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Church of Canada, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, and Kairos, an ecumenical peace and justice coalition.

Bishop Eliezer Pascua, the general secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, reported that since 2001, 25 church workers have been killed, 16 of whom were from his church. …

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