Philippines nun speaks strongly against arrest of church worker Yadao

September 13, 2013

I remember from my visit to the Philippines in the early 80s that the nuns were extraordinarily active in the area of human rights (that was under Marcos). I was reminded of this when I saw the Bulalat report of 13 September that a long-time lay worker of a Catholic-run organization was arrested by elements of the Philippine Army on 8 September and the fierce reaction by Sister Somogod.

Joel Yadao (in gray shirt) attends an activity of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region in June 2012. (Photo courtesy of RMP-NMR)

(Joel Yadao (in gray shirt) in June 2012. Photo courtesy of RMP-NMR)

Joel Q. Yadao, 44 years old, a member of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) , was arrested inside the compound of a Roman Catholic Church in the municipality of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, according to RMP-Northern Mindanao Region.  Yadao is charged with multiple murder in connection with the pre-2013 elections armed encounter between Mayor Ruthie Guingona’s convoy and the New People’s Army (NPA). In a statement, RMP-NMR (Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region) coordinator Sister. Ma. Famita N. Somogod, MSM, condemned the “trumped-up charges” against Yadao and called for his immediate release: “We denounce this act of judicial harassment to disable Joel from doing his human rights work for the peasants of eastern Misamis Oriental,” Somogod said.

Somogod said the RMP-NMR office and its staff have been put under intensified surveillance this year, which caused dislocations in their work for the rights of poor farmers and indigenous peoples. “We regard with disgust the continued attack against church workers and advocates, farmers and indigenous communities, and all other human rights defenders in Mindanao and the entire country,” Somogod said. “We condemn the evil structures that perpetuate human rights violations and impunity.”

RMP-NMR vowed to join and assist thousands of poor farmers and indigenous peoples from Misamis Oriental to march this October Peasant Month to protest landlessness and the sustained persecution of human rights defenders working for land rights and access to resources. Last month, Pastor June Ver Mangao of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) experienced threats and harassment.

– See more at: http://bulatlat.com/main/2013/09/13/church-worker-nabbed-in-misamis-oriental/#sthash.YvHqElyz.dpuf

via Church worker nabbed in Misamis Oriental « Bulatlat.

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