Send petition letters to your Foreign Ministers, the Philippine Government, and the Philippine Commission on Human Rights to put an end to the killings of church people, peace advocates and leaders of people's organizations in the Philippines.
(Date) Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-ArroyoPresident, Republic of the PhilippinesMalacanan PalaceJ.P. Laurel St., San Miguel, ManilaNCR 1005 PHILIPPINES
Dear President Macapagal-Arroyo,
I am shocked to hear that another church worker in the Philippines has been killed. Mr. Tito Marata, the provincial officer of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, was gunned down on 17 June. Mr. Marata was also a member of the Farmers for Agrarian Reform Movement. His death happened in less than a month after Mr. Noel “Noli” Capulong, a 51-year-old member of United Church of Christ in the Philippines was shot on 27 May in Calamba, Laguna. Mr. Capulong was a former South Luzon Coordinator of the Ecology and Environmental Protection Program of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. At the time of his death, Mr. Capulong is the Deputy Secretary General of Bayan Muna (People First), a progressive political party which has been the target of persecution and extra-judicial killings.
They are the latest victims in the recent wave of killings targeting church workers, human rights defenders, journalists, and justice advocates.
In July 2005, an international church delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) visited the Philippines at the invitation of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines to investigate the human rights situation. They noted the rising number of murders of activists and observed that "large-scale human rights violations including police and military intimidation, illegal detention, and torture of peasants working on the farms of rich landlords are being perpetrated."
I ask you, on behalf of the (your church/organization), to order the killings to cease, to conduct an immediate and impartial investigation of the killings, and to make the findings of the investigation public to ensure that those found responsible are brought to justice. I urge you and the Philippine government to support the other recommendations of the WCC-CCA delegation, namely
- revision of the government’s military strategy for resolving the insurgency to insure the safety of non-combatants and to avoid indiscriminate destruction of property
- resumption of the stalled peace talks between the Government of the Republic of Philippines and the National Democratic Front
- assertion of civilian control of the military, which must be held accountable for its actions and which must be in accordance with international humanitarian law
- cessation of the practice by the government and military of labelling those who work for justice and for the poor as subversives or communists
I believe that you have the power to put an end to all these killings and other human rights abuses and find justice for the victims. I call on you, on behalf of the (your church/organization), to use that power to address the dangerous and escalating human rights situation in the Philippines. Your action, Ms. President, is urgently needed as the killings continue.
I am monitoring the situation closely and I anxiously await your reply.
Cc: (Foreign Minister in your country)
(Human Rights Commission in your country)
Bishop Eliezer Pascua, General Secretary, United Church of Christ in the Philippines
Bishop Eliezer Pascua
General Secretary, United Church of Christ in the Philippines
877 EDSA, West Triangle
Quezon City 1104