Manila – Red tagging of religious missionaries in the country is not only “inimical to democracy and respect for human rights” but also put their lives in jeopardy.
The Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) said the lives of the missionaries especially those in far-flung rural areas, the military tagged as members of the communist movement, are endangered.
“Red tagging, accusing individuals and organizations as communist terrorists, is inimical to democracy and respect for human rights,” the AMRSP said in a statement.
The red tagging may “lead to warrantless arrest, detention without charges, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings”.
The statement released by AMRSP was in reaction to the military’s allegation that the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) has been assisting the New People’s Army in Mindanao.
The military had asked the European Union and Belgium to stop funding to RMP and other human rights groups whom they tagged as fronts of the communist rebels.
The RMP, an alliance of Catholic religious congregations in Mindanao, was established in 1969 as a Church response to the plight of people in “most forgotten places”.
“Let the members of the RMP do their jobs where we in the government and church agencies have failed to go to address issues of peace, education, respect for life, freedom, dignity of persons, good governance and good politics in the far-flung rural areas,” they added.
The AMRSP is an association of 327 religions congregations in the Philippines currently co-chaired by Sr. Regina Kuizon, RGS; and Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM. (amm)