The Ramento Project for Rights Defenders (RPRD) issued a statement on the occasion of the 11th martyrdom anniversary of Bishop Alberto Ramento, 9th Obispo Maximo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.
The statement, which condemns the unabated killings and culture of impunity in the Philippines, also expressed serious alarm over the extrajudicial killings of 3 lay workers of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente within the months of July and September.
Ramento was found dead in his room at San Sebastian church in Tarlac City on Oct. 3, 2006. The police ruled out days after the incident that it was robbery gone wrong. The IFI launched a fact-finding mission that found a different story. Ramento’s killing was a politically motivated crime.
The IFI strongly believes that Ramento, who was an outspoken critic of the Philippine government and an active supporter of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers, was a victim of extrajudicial killings.
Revd Fr Jonash Joyohoy, RPRD Executive Director, remembers Ramento as a “committed nationalist devoted to the faith of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente who boldly stood for the oppressed and the marginalized.”
RPRD finds inspiration from the life and ministry of Ramento.
“Commemorating his martyrdom reminds us that we must continue living out his commitment to the struggle for justice and peace in the Philippines,” Joyohoy added.
Part of RPRD’s statement reads: “Our work at RPRD reveals to us that the issues that agitated (Bishop Ramento) remain. Many Filipinos still grapple with dire poverty, landlessness, un- and underemployment, the lack of basic social services and national industries. We are made more vulnerable by the brunt of climate change and environmental degradation, the collapse of the peace talks, unabated human rights violations, and the climate of violence espoused by the war on drugs, all-out war, militarization and other sorts of aggression.”
“For us who work for human rights, Bishop Ramento will always be revered as a glaring example of a human rights defender. We will always look upon him and will never forget that the fight for the dignity of human life and human rights is a crusade that must continue, even if it requires us to sacrifice our life,” Joyohoy said.