Bishop Melzar Labuntog said UCCP leaders and workers join with the indigenous peoples in their struggle for their ancestral lands, the protection of the environment and uphold human rights. “We dedicate these candles to them who died defending their rights,” Bishop Nabuntog said at the caravan’s kick-off ceremony at Freedom Park in Davao City, Monday.
By ALEX D. LOPEZ
DAVAO CITY, Philippines ––Religious leaders and workers of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) launched on Monday a National Caravan Against Large-Scale Mining and Impunity from Davao to General Santos City as part of its national convention of church workers for 2012.
Together with delegates from Luzon and Visayas, UCCP leaders and workers started the caravan with a liturgy at the Freedom Park here.
Reverend Jay Sichon, the president of UCCP’s church workers said the caravan would affirm the mission and vision of the church to uphold justice, peace and integrity of creation.
“UCCP stands in solidarity with the Filipino people in opposing the massive influx of large-scale mining which has caused the severe deterioration of the environment and led to the perpetuation of militarization and human rights violations,” Sichon said in a statement issued to the media.
The liturgical celebration also served as the groups’ expression of protest against the recent massacre of a Blaan family in Tampakan.
The massacre, Sichon said, is another statement to the continuing impacts of mining on social justice and human dignity.
“The massacre of the Capion family is highly condemnable and justice must be delivered to the victims who have staunchly stood up against mining in defense of their ancestral land,” Sichon added in the statement.
During the candle lighting activity, Bishop Melzar Nabuntog who led the liturgy said the candles are dedicated to the victims of massacre in Tampakan.
The Bishop said UCCP leaders and workers join with the indigenous peoples in their struggle for their ancestral lands, the protection of the environment and uphold human rights.
“We dedicate these candles to them who died defending their rights,” Nabuntog added.
Capion and her two children were brutally murdered early morning on October 18 in barangay Danlag in Tampakan town.
The victim is the wife of Daguil Capion, a Blaan leader who strongly opposed the mining operations of Xstrata-SMI in the area. Daguil was tending to his farm, about two hundred meters from the hut which elements of the 27th IB strafed with high-powered firearms killing his wife and 2 children, aged 8 and 13 years old, and wounding another 5 years old.
“There will be delegates who would visit Tampakan to gather more information on the incident and see the situation of the people in the area”, said Pastor Jurie Jayme when interviewed by davaotoday.com.
Jayme added the caravan will not only campaign against large-scale mining but will also look into the effects of mining on the ordinary people in the area, particularly on the cases of human rights violations.
Meanwhile, Juland Suazo, the spokesperson of Panalipdan in Southern Mindanao said the activity is in partnership with their institution.
“Usa kini ka pamaagi sa pagpadayag sa ilang pagtoo ug pagbag-o sa ilang kaakohan ngadto sa pagkab-ot sa kalinaw, hustisya ug paghatag kamahinungdanon sa pag-amping sa kinaiyahan (This is a way of expressing their faith and renew their commitment for peace, justice and the care for the environment),” Suazo added.
Sichon, on his part said UCCP, since the 1980’s “has been a bearer of promoting environmental care” and that in a span of two decades “the correctness of the value of the church’s efforts and advocacy program for the preservation of the environment was affirmed.”
The whole activity will end on October 29 Sichon added. (Alex D. Lopez, davaotoday.com)Extrajudicial Killings