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    Urgently withdraw “red-tagging” of National Council of Churches of the Philippines, restore the peace talks

    November 7, 2019

    Ret Maj Gen Delfin Lorenzana,

    Secretary, Dept of National Defence

    DND Building, Segundo Ave.

    Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo

    Quezon City, Philippines 1110;

    Email: publicaffairs.dnd@gmail.com

    Urgently withdraw “red-tagging” of National Council of Churches of the Philippines, restore the peace talks

    Dear Secretary Lorenzana,

    The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines was launched in Quezon City, the Philippines, in July 2013. ICHRP has over 90 member organisations outside the Philippines.

    We are writing to you urgently to attest to the credibility of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines over many decades in its mission to serve the people of the Philippines, especially the most humble and marginalised. NCCP has an enviable record of integrity and performance in implementing projects and programs with all kinds of partners, including government agencies.

    Yet, your Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Major General Reuben Basiao, brazenly and falsely accused the NCCP before a house committee on November 5, 2019, as a “front organizations of local communist terrorist groups”. The general’s presentation alleged that the NCCP, among a list of other humanitarian and social service organisations, provided funds to the “Communist Terrorist Group” through “International Solidarity Work”. There were also a number of international funding agencies identified as “wittingly or unwittingly” providing funds to “CTG front organizations”.

    This is a clear threat to the lives of NCCP staff, and to the staff of member churches, associate members and ecumenical partners. This reckless red-tagging will also delay, or even prevent, the delivery of much-needed services to marginalised communities coping with disasters. On a larger scale, this will further shrink the already limited civil space in Philippine society.

    Your government has badly mistaken the support of the NCCP for peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines as some kind of violence. Instead you too should call for genuine re-opening of the peace process and an end to the terrible violence in the country.

    We at ICHRP are proud to be part of an international community which will resolutely stand against your government’s shamelessly false attack on this honourable council of churches.

    Sincerely,

    Peter Murphy, Chairperson, Global Council,

    International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

    Cc: Justice Raoul V. Victorino (ret.) Chairperson NCCP. Cristina Palabay Secretary-General Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights

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