September 27, 2009 in Ilocos
By RODA Tajon
STA. CRUZ, Ilocos Sur — In commemoration of the 37th anniversary of the Marcos dictatorship, fifty (50) church workers in the province of Ilocos Sur united on September 21-22 to work for justice, peace and human rights in the midst of the worsening human rights situation in the country.
According to Rev. Marcelino Mariano, chairperson of Ilocos Sur Ecumenical Movement (ISEM), justice, peace and human rights are the main calls of the church.“As envisioned by the Lord, the church should be steadfast in the upholding the rights of the people especially now that we are under an undeclared martial rule,” he stressed.
The Gathering for Justice, Peace and Human Rights organized by the ISEM, an ecumenical mass organization of church people in the province of Ilocos Sur, called on the Christian community to commit themselves to the attainment of just and lasting peace. Among those present were representatives from the Roman Catholic Church, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, United Methodist Church and Iglesia Filipina Independiente.
A biblico-theological reflection on human rights was delivered by Rev. Marie Sol Villalon, Co-chair of Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR). Pastor Sol challenged the church people to be more vigilant in upholding the integrity of God’s creation. “We should not wrap our ministry. The bible itself shows the truth that we cannot conceal,” Pastor Sol stressed during her discussion.
According to KARAPATAN and the PCPR, 26 church workers have been killed since 2001. Pastor Sol reiterated that the government’s counter insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2 resulted to human rights violations that victimized thousands of people. “Indeed, justice and peace remains nil to the people,” she further added.
Other highlights of the gathering include awarding of posthumous award to Rev. Lorenzo Apalet, Sr., founding convener of ISEM and chairperson of Ilocos Sur Human Rights Advocates (ISHRA) and commitment building through reflection sharing. A sports festival was held on September 22 where the seminarians from the Immaculate Conception School of Theology (ICST) were declared champions. # nordis.net