Their vision

What follows is a statement from the convenors of tomorrow’s protests against the government. The statement makes for interesting reading, and the implications of the statement should be understood.

Pilgrims for Peace Statement
on the National Day of Mourning
June 11, 2005

We in Pilgrims for Peace, an inter-faith and
multi-sectoral network of peace advocates, join the
Filipino people in mourning the present state of our

We mourn for the poor who are overburdened by economic
hardships as endless price hikes, unjust wages and
additional taxes push them to the margins of poverty
and despair. Workers continue to suffer slave wages.
Peasants continue to cry out for genuine land reform.
Urban poor families face demolition of their slum
dwellings. Rural poor families are dispossessed as
agricultural lands are converted into luxurious
resorts, residential areas and industrial estates.
Indigenous peoples are evicted as logging and mining
giants tread on their ancestral domain.

We mourn for those who have been killed, abducted and
harassed with impunity as they were perceived as
‘enemies of the state’ in the midst of their
advocacies for basic social, political and economic
reforms. We seek justice for the victims – church
people, political activists, journalists, human rights
workers and lawyers – our fellow pilgrims and
advocates of social justice and genuine reforms that
are the requisites for a lasting peace.

Day by day, massive economic deprivation, foreign
domination of our economy, corruption in the civilian
bureaucracy and in the military and police, massive
fraud and elitist governance, political repression and
human rights violations, continue to pose major
obstacles to our pursuit of just and lasting peace.
The root causes of armed conflicts continue. The
formal talks between the Government of the Republic of
the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic
Front of the Philippines (NDFP) are recessed, thus the
important negotiations on social and economic reforms
have not continued. The peace negotiations between the
GRP and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) still
have to address the key question of ancestral domain.

It is urgent that the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
government address the chronic problems that continue
to breed and aggravate the armed conflicts in our

As Pilgrims for Peace, we reiterate our calls for the
resumption of formal peace talks and serious
implementation of bilateral agreements which will
directly benefit the people, especially the
Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights
and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

We demand immediate end to the killing of justice and
peace activists, the bombings of civilian communities,
and rampant and gross violations of human rights and
international humanitarian law. We also seek the
immediate and unconditional freedom of political
prisoners especially the case of 61-year old Angie
Ipong, a human rights activist abducted and detained
by the military since March 8, 2005, as well as the
freedom of innocent Muslims wrongly accused as
terrorists, and all victims of unjust imprisonment and

We add our voices to the growing clamor of people from
various walks of life for genuine social change.More
than ever, we renew our commitment to work and pray
for peace based on social justice, national
sovereignty, good governance and genuine democracy.


Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, D.D.
Diocese of Kalookan
the Philippines
Convenor, Pilgrims for Peace

Bishop Elmer Bolocon
United Church of Christ in the Philippines
Convenor, Pilgrims for Peace

Ms. Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz Duremdes
National Council of Churches in the Philippines
Convenor, Pilgrims for Peace

Mr. Rey Claro Casambre
Philippine Peace Center
Convenor, Pilgrims for Peace

What can be understood from this statement? First, that not just Catholic bishops, but the so-called main line Protestants, are involved, including the clergy radicalized during martial law. This statement has a vision of the Philippines that sounds very much like present-day Cuba. It is a statement that sees absolute parity between the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front, that, in other words, sees no primacy of legitimacy for established institutions. It is profoundly skeptical of a market economy, of the concept of private property, of any sort of development beyond a massive redistribution of wealth -or to be precise, the abolition of private property and wealth.

This is what the bishops are rallying for, and what those present at the rally will be standing up for. The elimination of the present government is therefore merely the first chapter in their vision of the Philippines of tomorrow. I suspect that the only people they have a contempt greater than the one they reserve for the present administration, are the members of the opposition that will be trying to capitalize on the protester’s efforts.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

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