Church in Philippines will stand with victims

The Filipino Church will continue to stand with the country’s tribal communities who are victims of abuse, persecution, and extrajudicial killings, according to Manila’s auxiliary bishop Broderick Pabillo.

Dr Pabillo had been asked to “actively intervene to end the militarisation of the areas where the tribal communities live”, and for the Church to facilitate the resumption of peace talks between the government and communist guerrillas.

Lumad (tribal) communities have been under pressure from large-scale mining activities and the expansion of large plantations, with the Philippine military and paramilitary groups supporting the operations of companies that would force them from their land.

The Church has already condemned the killings of Lumad leaders on the island of Mindinao, with Lingayen-Dagupan’s Archbishop Socrates Villegas describing as “disturbing” the speed with which the government exonerated military and paramilitary groups that were allegedly responsible.