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Message of condolences on the death of Bishop Alberto Ramento

01 January 1970

Letter to the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and the WCC member
churches in the Philippines, 10 October, 2006

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The World Council of Churches has received with deep shock and grief the
news of the brutal stabbing of Bishop Alberto Ramento, of the Iglesia Filipina
Independiente. Bishop Ramento was a soft-spoken, kind person and a church
leader who led a simple life. He was committed to the poor and marginalized of
his diocese in the rural area. Being close to his people he was aware of and understood
their sufferings, trials and tribulations. Many a time he came to their rescue
when they were victimized and harassed by the security forces. The position
he took in defence of his congregation was not appreciated by those in power and
he was frequently warned to change his ways. He was often subjected to death
threats. In one of his statements the Bishop said, "I know they are going to kill
me next. But never will I abandon my duty to God and my ministry to the people."

Little did he realise that soon he would succumb to his prophetic words. He
died in harness while serving God and his people.

The attention of the government was drawn several times to the increase in the
spiral of violence and extra-judicial killings in the rural areas, but it did little to
redress the situation. Despite protests and demonstrations, the security forces of
the Government of the Philippines continued to indulge in victimization, torture
and extra-judicial killings on the pretext of fighting the terrorist threat in
the region. These wanton acts of killing and destruction are carried out with complete
impunity by the officials of the army and para-military forces, sometimes
with the implicit support of the government. Little has been done to arrest this
trend despite protests by churches, both within and outside the country.

It is against this background that the WCC Central Committee, meeting in
Switzerland 30 August to 6 September 2006, unequivocally condemned the extrajudicial
killings and expressed its condolences to the families of the victims. It
also called on the Government of the Philippines to disband death squads, private
militias and para-military forces operating outside the official chain of government
command and to hold accountable any members of the military found
to be indulging in these illegal acts. Finally the statement issued by the Central
Committee called for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry
into these extra-judicial killings.

The World Council of Churches assures you that it will continue to monitor
these developments and will be ready to act with partners in bringing these atrocities
to the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The World Council of Churches requests you to please convey our heartfelt
condolences to the family of the late Bishop Alberto Ramento.

Yours in Christ,

Georges Lemopoulos
Acting General Secretary

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