Statement from Thomas Kemper
General Board of Global Ministries
The General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church stands in solidarity with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines as it withstands yet another attempt to discredit its prophetic witness by being labeled “a front organization of local communist terrorist groups” by the Philippines Department of National Defense.
The spurious charge, vehemently denied by the NCCP, was made in early November by a high-ranking intelligence officer in hearings in the Philippines' House of Representatives. (For the NCCP statement see: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=1430201943955254&story_fbid=2112696689039106&ref=bf.)
This tactic has been employed previously against persons and organizations that dare to protest the indiscriminate killings of thousands in President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war against drugs.” The goal is to discredit those who dare to uphold human rights and publicize unjust actions and abuse of power, causing untold suffering, especially among the poor and the powerless in Philippine society.
The NCCP, an ecumenical fellowship of mainline Protestants, of which The United Methodist Church in the Philippines is a member, has never shied away from its mission: “To be a channel for united witness and common action by being in solidarity with the people in the struggle for justice, peace and integrity of creation.”
Global Ministries affirms and celebrates such witness through partnership with the NCCP in its quest to boldly proclaim its mission in word and in deed. This agency has collaborated with the NCCP in many ministries across the years.
Global Ministries appeals to the government of the Philippines to recognize and respect the rights of advocates for justice who follow the way of Jesus the Christ and to protect their freedom to observe Jesus’ admonition to “preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives…and let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18)
(The “red-tagging” of the NCCP has been protested by the leadership of the Christian Council of Asia, see statement at: http://cca.org.hk/home/news-and-events/cca-general-secretary-condemns-the-philippine-governments-act-of-red-tagging-the-national-council-of-churches-in-the-philippines.)
In response to the outpouring of prayer and support, the acting general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines wrote a letter of gratitude to friends and partners around the world. Read Minnie Anne Mata-Calub’s letter here.
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