A priest of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) received a death threat from suspected state agents.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Volume VIII, Number 28, August 20-26, 2008
Reverend Father Romeo Tagud of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) received an envelope containing an M16 bullet around 6:30 a.m.
Tagud is the secretary-general of Promotion of Church Peoples’ Response (PCPR) in Negros.
In a statement, the PCPR said, “We strongly condemn this desperate and evil act as this is clearly a handiwork of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Oplan Bantay Laya 2 that uses unjust, brutal, destructive and anti-people instruments to sow fascism and terror against legitimate, legal, progressive and democratic personalities and consistent anti-Arroyo oppositionists like Fr. Romeo Tagud.
Oplan Bantay Laya 2 is the counter-insurgency program of the Arroyo government.
Tagud recently joined the eight-member delegation of Filipino-Americans from the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, USA who visited Guihulngan, Negros Oriental last June 30 to July 2.
The PCPR said, “It is in this pastoral visit that Fr. Romeo Tagud bonded himself with the delegation’s expressed serious concern on the continuing deterioration in the observance of human rights in Negros, the existence of pervasive climate of fear and the lack of care and respect by government and the military towards the Filipino people who live in extreme poverty.”
The PCPR deemed that the harassment against the priest is a ‘wicked, immoral and unjust act aimed to silence him in pursuing his sincere advocacy for the defense of human rights.’
The PCPR added, “As a church worker, Fr. Romeo Tagud adheres to the Christian tenet of ‘Love the least of thy brethren’ and uphold the democratic rights of the poor and the oppressed to assert and exercise their basic right to life.”
Under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government, 27 church workers have already been killed, according to the PCPR. These include the former IFI Supreme Bishop Alberto Ramento and IFI priest Fr. William Tadena.
The PCPR called on all peace-loving church workers, priests, religious sisters, brothers, formandi, pastors, deacons, deaconesses, bishops, lay workers and to all the Filipino people to help defend and advocate human rights.
“…the Christian Church urged us to courageously defend and vindicate the rights of the poor and the oppressed, even when doing so will mean alienation or persecution from the rich and powerful,” said PCPR. (Bulatlat.com)