Statement of the 22nd National Assembly of the Ecumenical Bishops Forum



We, the Ecumenical Bishops Forum, have come together, along with our friends and partners from other parts of the world, for the 22nd  National Assembly, gathering 41 bishops, pastors, priests and church workers from the Episcopal Church in the Philippines,  Iglesia Evangelica Metodista En Las Islas Filipinas, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church),

Ang Iglesia Metodista sa Pilipinas (Methodist Church in the Philippines), United Church of Christ in the Philippines, United Methodist Church, Roman Catholic Church – Okinawa, Japan

Methodist Church Nigeria, KARIBU Foundation – Norway on October 16 to 18, 2012, at the St. Ezekiel Moreno Spirituality and Development Center, Puerto Princesa City.

Guided by the theme of our assembly  “GOD, HELP US SAFEGUARD HUMAN LIFE, RIGHTS AND DIGNITY: END THE CULTURE OF IMPUNITY”, we faithfully prayed to God, the Lord of life and history, as the Psalmist did: “O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more” (Ps. 10: 17-18 ).

We firmly believe that human beings are created in the image of God, and that image is reflected in human life and in the community of all people. We strongly assert that every person is precious and entitled to live with dignity because they are God's children, and that each person's life and rights need to be protected.

We affirm that God has appointed people as stewards of creation, for the benefit of the earth and humanity itself.  This task includes the responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of present and future generations. The well-being of the environment is directly related to human well-being, therefore social, political and economic arrangements should reflect the dignity and worth of human beings and respect for the earth.

We continue to do our Lord’s prophetic mission of liberation as we promote justice and peace, and bravely speak out against the many evils that violate human rights and dignity, and eventually destroy life and God’s creation: the continuing/increasing  US intervention in the social, economic, political, and cultural life of our nation,  resulting to widespread suffering to our people; the desecration of  natural resources due to destructive activities by large mining companies, both local and foreign as empowered by the Philippine Mining Act of 1995; and the prevailing militarization in the countryside.

We continue to realize that human rights violations are committed by government armed forces, and these violations are inevitable under neo-liberal globalization.  We recognize that our government has become a guarantor and protector of capitalist investments, instead of being a guarantor and protector of people’s rights. The government’s Public-Private Partnership economic scheme is a local manifestation of globalization.

Above all, we decry the fact that extra-judicial killings (EJKs) and enforced disappearances (EDs) continue to happen under the present administration.  The dreadful culture of impunity has also intensified with the killing of foreign missionaries like Italian priest Fr. Pops Tentorio and Dutch social worker Wilhelm Geertman, and by the government’s failure to resolve a single case of the thousands of cases of EJKs and EDs since the previous administration.

It is therefore our prophetic task to call for:

Finally, we call for the concrete and decisive action from President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III to END THE CULTURE OF IMPUNITY  and to respond  to the demands of our people for genuine and lasting peace based on justice.

We trust that the God of love, justice and peace will indeed help us safeguard human life, rights and dignity and put an end to impunity.

With our firm conviction, we hereby sign this statement this 18th day of October, 2012 at Puerto Princesa City, Philippines.

Posted by Karibu Foundation - Last updated 29.10.2012