NCCP stop the attacks

On the 5th of November, the Department of National Defense of the Philippines included Karibu partner NCCP in the list of “front organizations of local communist terrorist groups”.

This is a highly concerning threat against the NCCP staff, member churches and partners, posed in a context of reiterated attacks and raids against civil society organizations that are critical of the government’s policies and programs.

Karibu stands in solidarity with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and shares its call for support from international partners and people of good will around the world. We invite all the relevant actors in our networks to compose statements of support in defense of NCCP.

The appeal from NCCP can be accessed below:

November 7, 2019

Dear NCCP International Partners,

We of the NCCP wish to call your attention to recent occurrences in the country involving the Council and to request your support in response.

Within the past few days, we have witnessed attacks in Bacolod and in Metro Manila against civil society organizations that are critical of the government’s policies and programs. There have been raids, illegal arrests, and vilification. Before this of course, there were even killings of activists and human rights defenders. The NCCP deems these moves as desperate attempts by the authorities to criminalize dissent and to weaponize the law against the people.

Then on November 5, it was learned that the National Council of Churches in the Philippines was included on the list of “front organizations of local communist terrorist groups” by the Department of National Defense (DND). The NCCP was one among a number of humanitarian and service-oriented organizations in the list that was presented by Major General Reuben Basiao, Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence during the house committee meeting on November 5. The presentation of Major General Basiao was in the context of the insurgency of the Communist Party of the Philippines -New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CCP-NPA-NDF), its history, organizational flowchart and number of attacks nationwide. The front organizations were allegedly providing funds to the “Communist Terrorist Group” (CTG) through “International Solidarity Work”. There were also a number of international funding agencies identified as “wittingly or unwittingly” providing funds to CTG front organizations.

As you well-know, the NCCP is a fellowship of churches following God’s call to serve the people of the Philippines, particularly “the least” of our siblings in Christ. Our programs are focused on service, ecumenical education, and Christian unity. In these efforts we have worked with many churches and communities, including local government units and government line agencies. The NCCP is a member of the World Council of Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, and the ACT Alliance.

The Council has been involved for decades in trailblazing work on human rights, migration, women’s empowerment, HIV and AIDS awareness and prevention, and children’s ministry including the protection of children against online sexual exploitation and trafficking. We also have built a widespread network in the humanitarian community. The Council is a founding member of the ACT Philippines Forum and the Philippine Faith-Based Organizations Forum.

The Council decries our inclusion on this list of communist terrorist groups. We recognize the clear threat that is now posed to the NCCP staff, member churches, associate members, and other ecumenical partners. In addition, the red-tagging will delay, or even prevent, the delivery of much-needed services to marginalized communities in the midst of disasters. On a larger scale, this will further shrink the already limited civil space. We are taking the necessary precautions given these circumstances, but we will not be intimidated into silence or inaction. We choose to stand unshaken in faith or determination to follow God’s mandate and to speak truth without fear.

Now we call on you, our partners, for support. We ask that you would compose a statement of support, an open letter, or a direct letter to the Department of National Defense to demonstrate to the government and the public that we have meaningful international partnerships and to acclaim the NCCP’s credibility, integrity and performance record in implementing projects and programs. We recognize that all our partners have much of their own work to accomplish, but if you are able to send us these documents by the morning of Friday, November 8 (keeping in mind we are on Philippine Standard Time), we will be able to use these to bolster public awareness and support in conjunction with our press conference on the issue. However, later messages will still be greatly appreciated.

We thank you sincerely for your solidarity in action, word, and prayer. Statements and letters from you will offer us protection, and what is more, it will help us to turn this threat from a governmental tactic of intimidation into an awakening call to the people.

With deep gratitude,

Ms. Minnie Anne Mata-Calub
Acting General Secretary, NCCP