By UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST IN THE PHILIPPINES NORTH LUZON JURISDICTION
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines North Luzon Jurisdictional Area (UCCP-NLJA) is in one with the statement issued by Bishop Reul Norman O. Marigza, the General Secretary of the UCCP, calling for the immediate release of the Right Rev. Carlo Morales of Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) and all those who were arrested with him. The UCCP-NLJA also joining the churches, church organization, ecumenical partners and all other peace loving people who are “strongly denouncing” the arrest of the good Bishop and his company.
Bishop Morales is known as an advocate of peace as he is an active member of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform and Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum. His arrest however is not surprising in these critical times where good is often seen as bad and evil is seen as good. Someone who advocates for peace based on justice through prophetic witness will surely be harassed, intimidated and arrested. Others are even brutally killed like what happened to Bishop Alberto Ramento, the former Obispo Maximo of IFI. Truly that the lament of the Psalmist is still echoing until today: “They crush your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage”. (Ps. 94:5)
Indeed, change has not yet come as promised to us. The arrest of Bishop Morales and his company and the continued persecution of other peace advocates are clear indication that systemic evil continue to dominate our society. As long as those in government believe that peace will come by following the doctrines of globalization and the doctrines of imperialists powers; as long as those in the military and police insist that peace will come to us by observing the national security doctrine against those perceived enemies of the state; as long as they insist that peace will come when all insurgents are gone; there will be no genuine peace in our land. Surely, there will be more peace advocates like Bishop Morales to be arrested, detained, harassed and intimidated. There will be more people to be sacrificed in the name of peace.
Church people have been seeking for peace for so long. But the peace that we have been praying and working for is a peace based on justice. Our faith in Jesus Christ convicted us that genuine and lasting peace comes only when the root-causes of social unrest are properly addressed and the unjust socio-economic, political, and cultural structures of our society be transformed into a life-giving, life-enhancing, and life-sustaining community where the values of the reign of God are the parameters of life. In this kind of community, peace advocates like Bishop Morales will no longer be arrested for love, justice, and peace shall prevail.
As faithful followers of the King of Peace we:
Reiterate our collective call for the immediate release of Bishop Carlo Morales and his company, and all other detained peace advocates!
Reiterate our call to continue our full support to the on-going peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP for we believe that it is through this that the root-causes of armed conflict shall be addressed! # nordis.net