Invitation to National Day of Prayer and Action for Peace and Human Rights

June 12, 2017

Dear Friends,

Greetings of peace!

On June 12, Independence Day, we would like to invite you to participate in a “National Day of Prayer and Action for Peace and Human Rights” in response to the rising tide of terrorism, martial rule and impunity that is now facing the nation.

In Manila, we shall be holding an inter-faith prayer and rally at the Andres Bonifacio Shrine (beside Manila City Hall) 4:00-6:00 p.m. We expect members of the Christian and Moro faiths, as well as sectoral organizations and concerned citizens, to come together in a united call for a peaceful and humane resolution to the Marawi siege.

The gathering will also highlight our opposition to martial law in Mindanao and possibly other parts of the country. It will call for an end to extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations, oppose the reimposition of the death penalty and the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility, and push for the continuation or resumption of peace negotiations with the various armed movements in the country (pleas see the attached unity statement).

Please inform us if you are willing to join us at the Bonifacio Shrine on June 12 and be a signatory to the attached unity statement.We are also in need of material and financial resources for the event, particularly for the stage and sound system, food and transportation for performers and volunteers, flyers and publicity materials, and other logistical requirements. Your contribution will be highly appreciated.

Please get in touch with Eleanor de Guzman at mobile no. 0949.3266335 to confirm your attendance and/or contribution.

Thank you very much and hope to see you on the 12th!

Unity Statement: National Day of Prayer and Action for Peace and Human Rights

June 12, 2017

No to Terrorism!
Lift Martial Law!
Stop Aerial Bombings of Communities!
Stop Extrajudicial Killings!
Defend Human Rights!
Pursue the Peace Talks!

On June 12, Independence Day, we, concerned Filipinos from various faiths, sectors and political affiliations, will come together in a day of prayer and action to renew the call for peace and respect for human rights amidst the rising tide of terrorism, martial rule and impunity that threatens to rip the nation apart.

We extend our solidarity to the victims of the Marawi siege. We condemn the deliberate acts of terror by the ISIS-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups. We call on all people to come to the aid of thousands of internally displaced persons in Lanao del Sur and nearby areas.

Likewise, we gather to show our opposition to martial law in Mindanao and possibly other parts of the country. We call for an end to the aerial bombardment of Marawi and other conflict areas.

As the Marcos dictatorship showed, martial law is not the answer to the complex problems of Mindanao. A regime that trades Filipinos’ human rights for vague, ever moving law and order goals can only add fuel to armed rebellions and set back efforts to address the roots of the conflict. Martial law will further embolden law enforcers and state-sponsored vigilante and para-military groups to commit even more extrajudicial killings and curtail civil and political rights.

In the last year, atrocities have mounted nationwide. Filipinos are right to protest the murders of thousands in the drug war, as well as the extrajudicial killing of suspected rebels, ordinary farmers, indigenous peoples and Moro people in the counterinsurgency war. It is the poor that bear the brunt of these wars. It is the poor that are killed. It is their rights that are violated. It is their communities that are subject to aerial bombings and abuses during military and police operations. As the poor suffer, the drug lords, the landgrabbers, big mining corporations, and their protectors in government, continue to get away with their crimes.

We likewise unite against the dangers of reimposing the death penalty and lowering of the age of criminal responsibility. Given the weaknesses and failures of our justice system, such measures will most likely further victimize the poor, weak and powerless.

Drug abuse, criminality, social unrest and rebellion are but symptoms of deep seated, historical problems that cannot be solved by wars against the poor or the imposition of martial law. We need to address the roots of the problems – massive poverty, social injustice, corruption, and failure to assert national sovereignty and genuine independence.

In this light, we also call for the continuation of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Only by mutually addressing the roots of the armed conflicts can all parties hope to forge a just and lasting peace for our people.

We shall continue to pursue various paths to peace based on justice and the full respect for human rights. It is our hope and prayer that President Duterte and all government officials can still listen and change.#


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