Statement of Bishop Feliciana Tenchavez* on the current human rights situation in Negros Island

WESTERN Visayas – The Bishop assigned to West Visayas Jurisdictional Area of UCCP calls on all the faithful members of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines to stand in solidarity with the families of the victims of extra-judicial killings in Negros. “We grieve for the lost but we bravely stand with the victims in seeking for justice and truth! The atmosphere of impunity that looms in the province of Negros Oriental is also the same atmosphere in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country.”

“Our vision as a church, is to live in a society where justice and peace reign, where the right to Life and Liberty is recognized and upheld. Nevertheless, under Duterte’s tyrannical rule, the whole country and the people are facing the catastrophic effects of oppression and violence”.

The ill-effects of Martial Law here in Negros Island have sown inconceivable terror to the citizens and the curtailment of their fundamental social and political rights that resulted in today’s widespread human rights violations. Only the other day, July 23 after a court hearing, Atty. Anthony Trinidad was gunned down, and on the midnight of 25th of July 2, DepEd employees Mr. Arthur Bayawa and Aldane Bayawa were killed. Another incident took place at 1:00 am, when a Brgy Captain named Romeo Alipan, and also Raklin Astorias, Reden Eleuterio, Marlon Ocampo and his eight (8) year old child were also mercilessly killed. The human rights situation in Negros has reached to a very alarming stage as cases of summary killings among innocent civilians are rising almost every other day.”- the Bishop added.

“We strongly condemn the spate of killings in Negros! And we demand that the Commission on Human Rights conduct an investigation on extra-judicial killings happening in the region. The Bishop also lamented that, “as a church we must continue to be vigilant in finding the truth, in seeking for justice amidst grave violations of our human rights.” The Bishop concludes by saying that, “As Christians, in the event of oppression and injustices we should not just keep quiet; we should unmask the perpetrators and resist the evil regime of this time. As a church let us unite and steadfastly stand with the oppressed sectors. We echo the words of the Scriptures in Psalm 82:3 which instructs us to “Defend the poor and the fatherless; do Justice to the afflicted and needy!”

Defend Negros!
Stop the Killings!
Respect Human Rights!
Stand for Justice and Peace!

* Bishop Feliciana Tenchavez is the Jurisdictional Area Bishop in West Visayas of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines


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