Stand firmly on the principles of sovereignty

Statement of the EBF Conference on US Intervention in the Affairs of Sovereign Nations

Participants from around the world met in Davao City, The Philippines, January 13-18, for the Ecumenical Bishops' Forums (BF) International Conference on US Intervention in the Affairs of Sovereign Nations: Ecumenical-Theological Perspectives.  The statement from their efforts, and their call to both the Phillippines Government and representatives of the USA in the Philippines, is found below. 


1. We, the Ecumenical Bishops' Forum, bishops and other church people coming from various churches* from Australia, Canada, India, Norway the Philippines and Sri Lanka gathered  in Davao City, The Philippines, in January 2014.

We met as pastors to reflect theologically and ecumenically on the issue of US intervention in sovereign nations.

We visited people in several areas of Mindanao where the US military and US-linked trans-national corporations are active.

We call the attention of the Philippines  Government and representatives of the USA in the Philippines that serious harm is daily being caused to people in the Philippines and to our environment by the activities of the US military and US-linked trans-national corporations. We offer as recent evidence these examples, which we have heard through personal testimony:

The Dole Philippines company
  is exploiting its workers by employing most of them on a contractual basis, with low wages and little security.

Its agricultural practices are damaging the environment and endangering people and the land by using GMO (genetically modified organisms) technology which has been insufficiently tested on human beings and is strongly questioned by reputable scientists.

The St Augustine Gold and Copper Ltd  is causing serious loss of land, work and income to small-scale miners in the places where it operates. This affects also the Indigenous communities at large, who live on declared Ancestral Land. It is a situation of conflict and intimidation, and people are experiencing violence, death threats and extra-judicial killings. All these realities show the inadequacy of Philippine Mining Law.

Various branches of The US Military Forces are active in different parts of the country. Permitting this presence diminishes Philippines sovereignty.

This presence has various impacts on the local population not least by exploiting local women and girls for the “recreation” of US personnel.

We conclude that the above abuses by business organisations are not isolated mistakes but systemic harm done to the people, stemming from conducting business in ways that are short-sighted and mainly profit-based without long-term vision that considers the common good of the local people or of the nation.

We similarly conclude that the military activities do not bring security to the people but rather bring social destruction.

And so:

2. a.   We urge the Government of the Philippines to stand firmly on the principle of Philippine sovereignty and move strongly towards excluding all US military activity in the land and sea of the Philippines, following the example of the people of Davao City, through their Council and Mayor, who have refused to allow US military exercises or drones (pilotless aircraft) in their jurisdiction.

 b.    We appeal to all who invest in trans-national companies in the Philippines, to examine carefully the activities of these companies to see whether they deal justly with their employees and the local people and act ethically towards the environment.

c.  We demand that transnational corporations when operating in the Philippines must abide by the principles and legal restrictions that guide their activities in their countries of origin.

3. We appeal to the men and women who come to the Philippines to work for the US military or transnational corporations to realise that even though their individual tasks may seem harmless, each day they are contributing to serious harm which these organisations are doing to their fellow human beings in various parts of the Philippines.

We point out the obligation of Governments, local and national, to assist Filipino workers who face moral dilemmas in their employment with US Military and transnational corporations, when they choose to seek other, more ethical employment.

4. We call on all our fellow bishops and church leaders, to all Christians and all others who believe in God, to stand in solidarity with us in these issues:

a.    to name this harm done by the US military and by the Trans-national corporations as a sin against God's basic command: to love God in our fellow human beings, and

b.        to be in solidarity with and to help the people who suffer from the activities of the US military and the abuse by foreign corporations, so that they may be freed from their real and present sufferings.

MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS S. INIGUZ, JR., D.D.                         


*Churches/Denominations of Participants
Roman Catholic
Episcopal Church in the Philippines
Iglesia Filipina Independiente
United Church of Christ in the Philippines
United Methodist Church
Ang Iglesya Metodista sa Pilipinas
The Lutheran Church
The Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Church in Sri Lanka
Church of South India
Orthodox Church, India

Posted by Karibu Foundation - Last updated 21.01.2014