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Over 500 clergy members from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) rallied in Baguio on November 21st to voice their opposition to president Aquino’s pork barrel and to invasive mining operations:
The march was in protest of the pork barrel system, destructive mining, and human rights violations, and for the protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and other democratic rights. The IFI also called for the efficient and effective delivery of needed services to the calamity-ravaged areas of the Visayas.
The advocacy march is IFI’s way of expressing solidarity with the Filipino people in their struggle against the various societal ills that plague the nation today. This was also in conjunction with IFI’s Second National Clergy Convocation held from November 18 to 22, 2013 at the Teachers’ Camp, Baguio City.
The IFI has a long standing history of participating in socially-relevant activities as it was given birth by the struggles of the Filipino people during the time of the Katipunan-led revolution against the colonial Spain.
The mass of the clergy of the IFI was joined by various peoples’ organizations during the protest march who expressed appreciation for the said event.
“Nakikiisa ang Karatula sa aktibidad ng IFI kasama pa ang iba’t-ibang progresibong organisasyon dito sa Baguio. Sa kasaysayan, ang IFI ang katulungan ng sambayanang Pilipino sa kanyang pakikibaka sa pagsusulong ng katarungang panlipunan at karapatang-pantao at ng iba pang demokratikong kahilingan ng sambayanang Pilipino. Ito ay ay napakagandang aktibidad dahil napapakita nito na ang mga taong-simbahan at mga relihiyoso ay nakikiisa sa laban ng sambayanan,” Nino Oconer of Karatula said.
Tracy Dumalo of Anakbayan also expressed support to the activity and highlighted the issues that confronts the youth of today and denounced Pres. Benigno Aquino’s government neglect of the youth’s interest.
The four bishops of the four regional conference of the IFI in turn expressed their response through their speeches during the program at the People’s Park in Baguio City.
Bishop Vermillon Tagalog of the La Union, Ilocos Sur and Abra Conference called for the restoration of the peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Republic of the Philippines (GPH).
Bishop Ronel Fabriquer of the South and Central Luzon Conference for his part expressed solidarity with the issues of the Indigenous Peoples against destructive mining and advocated the legislation of pro-people mining.
While Bishop Delfin Callao of the Mindanao Conference denounced the continuing violations of human rights under the Aquino government especially cases of Extra-judicial killings (EJK) and enforced disappearances.
Bishop Elorde Sambat of the UCCP North Luzon jurisdiction also spoke of solidarity with the IFI and told of the long standing partnership between the two churches actively involving themselves in people’s issues and interests as part of their church ministry.