In the closing of the Biblico- Theological Reflection of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Southern Mindanao Region (RMP-SMR), we participants coming from the religious and lay people, call for unity of our fellow workers to protect and walk in the journey of our Lumads, fisher folks and farmers midst the persecution.
We hold with deep awe and appreciation the work of the missionaries that seeks to empower God’s anawim – the peasants, fisherfolks and the indigenous peoples or Lumads – through services such as the development of Lumad schools, sustainable agriculture practices for self-reliance and health programs.
Through these programs we have seen the dedication of workers, which is reciprocated with the empowerment of the Lumads and farmers who have gained knowledge to nurture their land, defend their ancestral domain, and pay back by going back to their communities as teachers for their very own tribes.
We are deeply saddened that such dedicated groups are met with persecution from this present government. How the iron fist of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have branded missionaries as the ‘enemy’. The detention of Dominiciano Muya, agriculturist of RMP and Salugpungan, and the displacement of Lumads such as in Talaingod and Kapalong Davao del Norte and White Culaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon.
We strongly condemn the recent atrocities happened in UCCP Haran, the burning of the students dormitories and evacuees huts were our Lumads are in sanctuary and also the killing of our IP student and PO leaders, Ricky Peñeranda, Alibando Tingkas, Christopher Matibay, Teresita Navacilla, Alejandro Laya-og, Ronel Paas, Jennifer Albacite.
This assembly questions our leader, President Benigno Aquino III, for allowing this state of fear to sweep the indigenous and peasant communities in Mindanao. When instead of supporting the parallel efforts of church and lay people to help the grassroots communities, instead there is now destruction and paralysis of the people’s lives happening in Mindanao. Instead of service to the poor, there is fear and plunder of natural resources in Lumad areas and God’s creation for profit.
As followers of Christ who walks with the poor, we condemn the instruments of greed and death. We are called upon to listen to their cries and join them in seeking the light to shun away the dark and defend their life and dignity.
Let us be moved by the words of Pope Francis, who called for the Church to step out from the comfort of our pulpit and convents, and work for God’s call for justice for the Lumads and the poor and oppressed.
Let us be inspired by the actions of Cardinal Tagle, who visited and talked with the Lumads in their kampuhan in Manila, and join them in their calls to the current dispensation to pullout the military and disband the paramilitary groups from the Lumad communities all over Mindanao, restore the schools and farms for the Lumads.
We call upon our fellow workers from the Church, to be truly transformative and responsive to the poor. To call for this dispensation for accountability for the transgressions on the poor and on Creation. Let us work for the Church to actively seek justice and transformation of the lives of the poor.
Let us be moved by the spirit of the poor that seeks transformation, let us be followers of Christ that walk with the poor in their search for justice and peace in their ancestral lands and farms.
• Sr. L.C. Wang,SM * Sr. Francis Añover, rsm
• Sr. Hildegard,OSB * Sr. Aurora Bravo,OSB
• Sr. Monica Lum,SM * Sr. Marisol Garduno
• Ms. Artemia Olivar * Angel Camino
• Elegyn Uballas * Leny Camino
• Carmelito Lao Sr. * Crispin Canubas
• Datu Andil Ginum * Tony Salubre
• Lolita Casagda * Ronie Garcia
• Amelia Pond * Lualhati Abrea
• Rose Pielago
The RMP is a national organization, inter-congregational ang inter-diocesan in character, of women and men religious, priests and lay. We live and work with the peasants (farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and agricultural workers).