DAVAO CITY – A member of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) has challenged their national leaders to officially denounce the New People’s Army (NPA) and crimes it committed.
Dio Raphael Ratunil raised the concern in a Facebook post, saying their leaders who are enraged about alleged extrajudicial killings should be equally indignant about the brutality of NPA rebels.
“Shouldn't we treat the NPAs as the enemy of the state and the real threat to our society? How come we are silent about it?” he posted on Aug. 17.
Ratunil also asked fellow UCCP members about some of their pastors being red-tagged and doubted if they are not really left-leaning.
“Aren’t we curious of how our tithes were being utilized when the only report we receive is a piece of gloomy paper with a printed pie chart showing the breakdown? Should that be enough? Is there a way we can cross-check the utilization of our tithes to clear the members’ minds once and for all, that we are not NPA enablers, and that our church does not support terrorists financially? Do we have that access? Do we even have the power to do that? Or do we just blindly rely only on what’s being fed to us by our leaders?” the lengthy post read.
Ratunil also wanted to know if consultations were made before the UCCP posted its rants about the government.
“I’d like to be educated if the voices of the local churches were being recognized and consulted first before our leaders were able to make an official statement regarding matters of the state? Is it actually the voice of the majority? Or the voice of the powerful few?” he added.
He said their church speaks so much about corruption, poverty, injustices, and oppression, but can’t speak candidly against the NPA and identify the insurgents as remorseless oppressors.
“Why are we so silent? Are we turning a blind eye? I am also curious whether these kinds of topics were freely discussed in your local churches? I would like to know. Do we even have the right avenues that we can discuss these things? Or a lot of local churches still remain clueless?” Ratunil said.
He expressed dismay that political topics are inserted during Bible studies, midweek prayer meetings, and Sunday schools.
“Maybe, we keep on looking at the critical times as if it’s something bigger than us happening outside our church, but totally forgot that it’s happening right in front of our eyes. The word pag-mata (wake up) is valid after all,” Ratunil said. (PNA)
(Editor’s note: The accompanying photo of this report has been changed to reflect the social media post of Dio Raphael Ratunil. We regret using a photo of the façade of UCCP-Davao as Mr. Ratunil is from UCCP-Manticao, Misamis Oriental. Our apologies.)