“YIFI joins voices to free Kuya Aldeem et al.”

Former YIFI National President Aldeem Yanez is now detained at Camp Fermin G. Lira Jr. in General Santos City, one of the 13 individuals who were arrested yesterday (July 04, 2018) during a program consultation organized by a church-based development program held at General Santos City.

Yanez, known to many young people as Kuya Aldeem, was apprehended together with several other church workers and human rights defenders at the Mother Francisca Spirituality Center, Lagao, General Santos City. They were actually participating in a consultation on farmers and Lumad members convened by the Iglesia Filipina Independiente Visayas-Mindanao Regional Office for Development (VIMROD).

VIMROD is the longest-running development project of the IFI, established in 1989 by the bishops of the Visayas and Mindanao dioceses to do community development in the two island groups.

Kuya Aldeem served as the YIFI National President in 1999-2002, the first term that carried the “YIFI” name, as well as a brand-new YIFI logo and YIFI Constitution and by-laws. He also served as the Vice Chairman of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines right after his term as the YIFI National President, before delving full-time in community development. He is known to have that passion for peasants and Lumads, for whom he has written several solidarity songs.

As of the moment, he and at least nine others – including Jomorito Guaynon (Kalumbay), Ireneo Udarbe (Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas), Vennel Chenfoo (Kabataan Partylist), Kristine Cabardo (League of Filipino Students), Roger Plana (VIMROD) and Teresita Naul (Karapatan) – are reportedly facing charges on obstruction of justice. Together with their lawyer, they are awaiting inquest as of presstime proceedings at the Hall of Justice, also in General Santos City.

This mass arrest is a clear manifestation of the government’s unjustified crackdown on human rights defenders and repression of church people expressing their faith through solidarity works and peace-building.

The Youth of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente condemns these needless arrests, and all the cases of human rights violations and unpeace that abound across the country, from which Kuya Aldeem and many faithful get their strength and boldness.

We enjoin ecumenical, interfaith and sectoral friends to join us in calling this out!

As faithful, we believe in a God of justice, who is always on the side of the marginalized and oppressed. This belief fuels us in doing our mission in the world, even to the peripheries. With fiery hearts and the might of God’s commissioning, we raise our voices against the disregard for the rights of people and stand with the arrested community and church workers, including our Kuya Aldeem.

It is stated in Psalm 72:4: “May He vindicate the afflicted among the people, save the children of the needy and crush the oppressor.”

#StopTheAttacks

Source: Kabataang Aglipayano facebook page

Date: July 05, 2018