Religious leaders slam government for red-tagging missionaries
MANILA, Philippines — Religious leaders on Tuesday slammed the “red tagging” of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) by the government as front of a communist group.
The Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) said that the government’s move endangers the safety of missionaries in the country.
“Red tagging, accusing individuals and organizations as communist terrorists, is inimical to democracy and respect for human rights,” the AMRSP said in a statement posted on the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
The group also expressed fear that red tagging “can lead to warrantless arrest, detention without charges, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings.”
The AMRSP then called on the government to let RMP members perform their duty while in the country.
“Let the members of the RMP do their jobs where we in the government and church agencies have failed to go to address issues of peace, education, respect for life, freedom, dignity of persons, good governance and good politics in the far-flung rural areas,” it said.
Last March 28, the Philippine government formally requested the European Union to stop its funding of certain groups they identified as “fronts” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA)
Philippine NGOs identified as fronts of the CPP-NPA were: Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV); IBON Foundation; Karapatan; Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc.; the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines; the Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc.; the Alliance of Health Workers; the Kilusang Mayo Uno; Gabriela; and ACT.
The RMP is an alliance of Catholic religious congregations in Mindanao while the AMRSP is an association of 327 religious congregations in the Philippines. /ee
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