THE National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has been listed as a front for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, opening it up for harassment, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has argued.
Speaking this week, the WCC’s general secretary, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, said that this “red-tagging” “gives a green light to harassment and deadly attacks by security forces and militias” against the NCCP and the 17 other organisations that are listed.
In a statement published on Saturday, Dr Tveit said: “The NCCP has consistently spoken out against Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, which has been marked by extra-judicial killings of suspected drug-traffickers and -users by security forces, with perpetrators of such killings enjoying almost complete impunity. . .
“The WCC strongly rejects the accusations made against the NCCP, and we stand in solidarity with the people of the Philippines who are mourning loved ones and living in fear of becoming the next victim.
“We call upon the government of the Philippines to end the war on drugs, to take measures to hold accountable those who have carried out extra-judicial killings, and to respect and protect the human rights and equal God-given dignity of all people in the Philippines.”
He argued that “bishops, other clergy and congregation members, along with many other human-rights defenders in the Philippines, have already been targeted, arrested, and threatened with reprisals”.
The Act Alliance has also criticised the move. In a statement published last week, a spokesman said: “We stand in solidarity with the NCCP and other partners who have wrongfully been included on the above-mentioned list. We call on the government of the Philippines to remove NCCP from the list, in view of its unverified nature and the security and operational threats it poses.”
The Canadian ecumenical justice group Kairos also joined in, “decrying their inclusion on this list of communist terrorist groups”.
More than 6300 people involved in the drugs trade have died in the drugs crackdown since 2106, launched by President Duterte, official figures show. Human-rights groups have said that the number of deaths is much higher.