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German Human Rights Organization Denounces Church Persecution in the Philippines

The Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen (AMP), in a leter sent to Secretary Vitaliano Aguiree of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on November 8, expressed its deep concern “about the severe human rights violations suffered by members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.”

AMP denounced the illegal arrest of Bishop Morales, who is under state custody at Ozamiz City Jail for almost 6 months now. The bishop was arrested with National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Rommel Salinas in May 11 at Ozamiz City.

Morales is the bishop of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) in the Diocese of Ozamiz. He was imprisoned on account of trumped-up charges of illegal possession of explosives.

The IFI leadership has condemned the arrest of Morales as an act of harassment. The bishop is an earnest advocate of peace and justice and an active actor in the local ecumenical movement in Mindanao region.

The letter said AMP is “extremely worried that the new cases of harassment and violence represent a resurgence of repression against the Church.”

AMP also decried the killing of two IFI lay members and the surveillance of IFI clergy Revd Grace Masegman and Revd Jonash Joyohoy. The two priests belong to the Ramento Project for Rights Defenders (RPRD), the Church’s human rights ministry.

AMP is calling on the Philippine government for the dropping of Bishop Morales’ case and his immediate release, and that of Rommel Salinas.

Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen is an initiative of seven major German church-based agencies and human rights organizations to promote advovacy and information work in Germany and the EU regarding the human rights situation in the Philippines.

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