On the Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the proposed Re-extension of Martial Law in Mindanao

“As we commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we join the rural poor of Northern Mindanao in calling for the immediate lifting of Martial Law in the whole island. We find no logical nor moral reason why Martial Law needs to be extended further. Rather, it is an instrument that is used to violate the basic rights of the people.”

This is the statement of Sr. Emma Teresita Cupin, MSM, Coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR).

With its advocacy and services to the rural poor – the Lumad, farmers, agricultural workers, and the fisherfolk – RMP-NMR has seen how Martial Law has been used as justification of abuses against the poor in the region. Through various fact-finding and relief missions, RMP-NMR has documented human rights violations that were committed with increasing ferocity against the most vulnerable groups in society.

There are the Lumad evacuees of Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental and Buenavista, Agusan del Norte who are driven out of their lands in the name of aggressive development projects. There are the cases of Aniceto Lopez Jr. and Rex Hangodon, two human rights defenders killed by members of the State forces. There are the cases of trumped -up charges against various leaders and members of people’s organizations and human rights groups, a number of whom are still in jail: farmers Alfredo Abao and Virgilio Omandam; development workers Emilio Gabale and Delia Unabia; Lumad organization members Rey Salilu, Romeo Salilu, Roger Ayumbong, and Junty Sedom.

Thus, RMP-NMR enjoins the faithful and all advocates of peace and justice to stand up against the planned extension of Martial Law and the abuses and destruction it brings. Let us be one in advocating for real solutions to poverty and oppression in Mindanao and the whole nation. Let our prayers be followed by our action to help realize equality, prosperity, and fulfillment of human potential.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,for the rights of all who are destitute.Speak up and judge fairly;defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 3:18

Source: Rural Missionaries of the Philippines Northern Mindanao Region facebook page

Date: December 010, 2018