As President Duterte’s administration threatens a crackdown on “leftist” organizations and activitsts, human rights situation is expected to turn from bad to worse. The challenge to confront the massive extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, forced evacuations among other forms of human rights violations grows daily.
Responding to the cause of protecting human rights and dignity, the National Priests Organization (NPO) and the Ramento Project for Rights Defenders (RPRD) are also stepping up preparations for the Church’s proactive response to human rights abuses.
NPO is the national organization of clergy of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente composed of about 1,500 priests. It was formed in the Martial Law years under the late President Ferdinand Marcos and one of the bodies in the Church which stood against the strongman’s rule.
Twenty six clergy from the 10 dioceses of South Central Luzon attended two batches of trainings on human rights documentation and paralegal work in September and November of this year. Resource persons came from from the country’s most committed and comprehensive human rights organization, the KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights.
The clergy gave their pledge to the huge task ahead of every peace-loving citizen and everyone who values the dignity and sanctity of life. These clergy will constitute the NPO Paralegal Team among others who will join the counterpart activities in North Central Luzon and Visayas in the coming months.