Thursday, February 26, 2009

Church people denounce nun’s continuing harassment

As the bible says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and the needy (Prov. 31:8-9). But in this obscene climate of oppression, those who live up in this prophetic role become the foremost target of persecution.

Sr. Stella Matutina, OSB is the latest victim in the escalating threats against human dignity in the region. As if her detention by the soldiers of the 67th Infantry Battalion last February 16 was not enough, surveillance and harassment against her and her congregation have also occurred.

The Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) strongly condemns this blatant disrespect and persecution of fellow church people. We strongly criticize the continuing persecution and Sr. Matutina’s saga and quest for justice against the arrest, arbitrary detention and harassment of the 67th Infantry Battalion.

Sr. Matutina has opted to live for the poor by being in solidarity with them in their struggle in the defense of the environment and life. Outside the confines of her convent, she, along with other advocates, went to the outside world, in the vastness of Davao Oriental hinterlands, where logging activities and mining explorations thrive posing threat to the environment and to God’s people.

Her vocation has brought her even closer to God’s people, risking the ire of the military establishment which apparently protects big business interest in the areas where she serve.

We are disheartened with the chilling truth that even us, church people, can fell prey to the hostility of the supposedly protector of our people. But it is not surprising though for this is only a part of the extensive design of the OPLAN BANTAY LAYA, the Arroyo government’s counter-insurgency program that principally targets civilians, human rights defenders and advocates.

We wholly support Sr. Matutina and her quest for justice. We call on our fellow church people to continue the ecumenical praxis for the defense, promotion and upholding of people’s rights and the integrity of creation.

We also enjoin our fellow church people to assert and to defend the integrity of the church people response to the challenges posed by the struggle of the Filipino people.

“Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk. 12:32). Tell everyone, therefore, who is discouraged: Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your adversaries!”

Rev. Jurie Jaime
Promotion of Church People’s Response

No comments: