Bishop Rodolfo A. Juan (left) prays for a leader (red vest) at a camp for displaced people in Malaybalay, Philippines, in 2017. The United Methodist Church in the Philippines has condemned extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses in the country, as well as protesting the treatment of indigenous people. The church has worked both alone and through ecumenical groups like the National Council of Churches. File photo courtesy of Dan Ela.
By Gladys P. MangiduyosNov. 15, 2019 | MANILA, Philippines (UM News)
United Methodists are defending The National Council of Churches in the Philippines after the organization was labeled as a “front organization of local communist terrorist groups” by the Department of National Defense of the Philippine Government.
The Philippine council was among 18 organizations “red-tagged” during a congressional briefing
Nov. 5. The list was presented by Major General Ruben Basiao, deputy chief of staff for intelligence for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines is an ecumenical fellowship of mainline Protestants, of which The United Methodist Church in the Philippines is a member. Its main mission is “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.”
United Methodist Bishop Rodolfo A. Juan of the Davao Area, who currently serves as vice chair of the National Council of Churches, lamented the labeling.
“I am bent on defending the council, which I believe is faithfully carrying out its prophetic role to proclaim the truth,” he said. “On behalf of The United Methodist Church, I urge faithful disciples to stand firm during these trying times. We will continue to be a check and balance of the government.”
The United Methodist Church in the Philippines has condemned extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses in the country, as well as protesting the treatment of indigenous people. The church has worked both alone and through ecumenical groups like the National Council of Churches.
In addition, the church offered shelter to farmers in 2016
after Philippine government security forces fired on the farmers’ peaceful demonstration for rice. Bishop Ciriaco Q. Francisco, who was at the time leader of the Davao Episcopal Area, opened the Spottswood Methodist Mission Center to the starving families. That action put him in danger and he was threatened with arrest.