By Rev. Ann Muir, KMUCC Member
April 6, 2023
Dear friends, I have just returned from two weeks in the Philippines.
I was privileged to be part of a delegation that the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) organized for people of faith from across the globe to the Philippines. The on-the-ground support was provided by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. We had the opportunity to meet with faith leaders and frontline community members to verify and document human rights abuses being committed now under the Marcos II Regime, and to strengthen our solidarity with faith partners in the Philippines.
Under the Marcos II administration, the rampant human rights violations under the Duterte regime has continued. Additionally, the economic hardship and crushing poverty experienced by many Filipino families has only worsened as the global economic crisis has caused inflationary prices, and ongoing natural calamities continue to ravage the Philippines.The stories that we heard and documented were heart wrenching.
Those exposing the cruelty and indifference of the administration in the face of this hardship, including faith leaders, have been intimidated and targeted with arrest and even death. We were sent out in groups of three or four with support persons to hold fact finding interviews, documents the stories, gather the pertinent evidence documents, and write and submit detailed reports to those who can carry the cases into the legal system.
I am hoping to share conversations via meeting with individuals or groups, FaceTime or Zoom conversations with individuals or groups. I would love to organize Zoom book discussions; I have a few excellent books to recommend for those wishing to educate themselves at a deeper level. I am open to any way to have conversations.
The situation in the Philippines is very difficult for the vast majority of the population. Poverty is very widespread. Human Rights violations are outrageously common. Police and government surveillance is quite aware that we were being photographed now and then in spirit of the incredibly effective security measures of our hosts.