On November 23rd a terrible massacre took place in Maguindanao, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has spoken out and Episcopal News Service has followed up with THIS STORY.
Now we have a statement from the Episcopal Diocese of the Southern Philippines signed by the bishop, THE RT. REV. DANILO L. BUSTAMANTE. We wait for a statement from the Prime Bishop of the Philippines.
Here is the letter:
Restore Peace with Justice
A STATEMENT FROM THE BISHOP AND THE DIOCESAN COUNCIL OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES
“The fruit of justice will be peace, and the effect of righteousness is quietness and trust for ever.” (Isa. 32:17)
The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Philippines joins the public uproar in denouncing the “Ampatuan, Maguindanao Massacre” on November 23, 2009 and in crying for justice for the hapless victims.
Totally unacceptable, unlawful, unjust, and inhuman describe the indiscriminate killings of 57 women, lawyers, journalists and other innocent civilians trapped in that dreadful incident which is violative to the sacredness of human life and contrary to both Christian and Muslim teachings.
In a place where moral decadence has gone far and deep; where abusive authority reigns supreme with powers over life and death, the damage is unfathomable and truly reflective of the culture and dynamics that is prevailing in the region.
This crisis challenges the spiritual aspirations that the religious sector has been persevering in efforts to build relationships of mutual respect among believers of different faiths and cultures in Mindanao .
In this time of dire need let us build stronger bridges to finally put across the message of faith in the Almighty and in our common commitment to work for peace and justice for all the peoples in Mindanao .. This need to intensify our efforts to achieve that elusive peace in Mindanao has already been underlined with urgency due to the recent acts of barbarism and utter lawlessness that mark the cry for peace in this divided island.
And while we pursue conditions of Shalom in Mindanao , we urge the government to lay aside political exigencies and alliances to bring all the perpetrators of this heinous crime before the bar of justice. Only then can we mitigate the loss of life of defenseless women, journalists and civilian passersby senselessly slain in the massacre. With swift justice delivered, the door to peace in Mindanao can be pursued with even greater vigor and relentlessness.
The EDSP joins the nation and the world in a common stand versus the perpetrators of this outrage. We extend our prayers and solidarity to the victims’ relatives for justice of their kin, a necessary first step in the achievement of a closure of this dark episode in our nation’s history.
(Sgd.) THE REV. FRANCIS JUNE A. IMPERIAL
Secretary, Diocesan Council
(Sgd.) THE RT. REV. DANILO L. BUSTAMANTE
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Southern Philippines
Episcopal Church in the Philippines
184 Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City
December 3, 2009