Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church joins the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) to appeal to the government of the Republic of the Philippines to repeal the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. As a Christian organization that has been in partnership with Christian leaders across the Philippines for decades, we believe that this latest law blatantly violates the rights and privileges of many innocent people who stand on behalf of justice and peace for all people in the Philippines.
The broad-based definition of “terrorism” allows government leaders to target and eliminate any organizations that support and lift up the voices and stories of the marginalized. This could be used as a way to legitimize the targeting of human rights defenders and any critics who oppose the current administration, silencing people through fear and intimidation by military and government authorities.
Paragraph 165 of the 2016 Book of Discipline states that The United Methodist Church believes that “God’s world is one world” and as citizens of God’s world, we appeal to leaders of nations worldwide to take their “moral duty to work together to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them.” We also stand in partnership with national leaders and community representatives seeking to ensure that all people “feel secure in the world community when law, order and human rights are respected and upheld.” (Ibid.) It is under these Social Principles that Global Ministries, along with our United Methodist brothers and sisters in the Philippines, seeks to call for a reversal and elimination of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and requests that the government work collaboratively with church and community leaders to find a more just and peaceful way to protect the interests of all who seek to live a dignified life within the Philippines.
We also express alarm that some member churches like the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the Philippine Independent Church, and the NCCP itself, have been “red-tagged” as communist fronts. This dangerously puts clergy, church workers and church members at risk, as this can be used as a pretext for designation, or worse, proscription. The United Methodist Church in the Philippines is an active member of the NCCP. We do not want to see lives endangered for engaging in and undertaking ministries of justice, mercy and compassion. We humbly ask the government of the Republic of the Philippines to stop its practice of red-tagging or labelling organizations, churches and individuals serving the poor.
We lift our support to the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, The United Methodist Church, Amnesty International, the United Nations and the 245 nongovernmental organizations that are asking for the government to serve and protect all the citizens of the Philippines, ensuring that they are given the fundamental freedoms that should be granted to all.