World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Message of sympathy and solidarity

31 March 2005

Letter to the WCC member churches in the Philippines, 31 March, 2005

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

We send you warm and cordial greetings in the name of our common Lord and

We have received with shock the reports of abductions, detentions without
warrants and extrajudicial killings that have taken place in the province of Tarlac
where workers and peasants in Hacienda Luisita have been on strike. The unrest
in the province began November last, as a result of the killing of seven striking
workers by the security forces. We appreciate the work of the members of the
clergy and human right defenders who have accompanied and supported the striking
workers and their families despite consistent harassment and intimidation by
the security forces.

The recent killing of Fr William Tadena, of the Philippines Independent Church
and the Chairperson of the diocesan Committee for Social Action and Human Rights
has come to us as a great shock. Fr Tadena was a strong supporter of the striking
workers in Hacienda Luisita and an outspoken critic of militarization in the province
of Tarlac. We express our profound distress at these developments in Tarlac province
that have resulted in loss of lives and suffering of the people. Kindly convey to the
families of the victims of violence our sympathy. May our Lord give comfort and
strength to the bereaved. Your commendable witness in the midst of this critical
situation is an example for all of us. We pray for you and with you as you continue
to work towards our common calling for human rights, justice and peace.

We have accordingly called on Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,
President of the Philippines, to direct the Philippines National Police and the local
government of the province of Tarlac to conduct an independent and speedy investigation
into this tragic incident. The authorities concerned should take immediate
steps to arrest those responsible for this brutal assassination and to ensure that the
culprits are brought before a court of law to stand trial for the crime committed.

Assuring you of our solidarity and prayers.

Yours in Christ,

Dr William Temu
Acting General Secretary