As Rev. Dan San Andres Sr, known as a defender of human rights, was arrested a week after the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act was passed in the Philippines, the World Council of Churches (WCC) joined with the bishops of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in calling for justice.
Andres serves as chairperson of the Christian Witness and Service Committee of the North Bicol Conference of UCCP. “One of the mandates of the committee he is currently leading is to protect and uphold human rights,” reads a statement released by the UCCP bishops. “Fabricated cases like these only show that LIES are the foundation of the system of oppression and injustice.”
“We are indignant that attacks on human rights defenders are happening even as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country continues to rise past the 50,000 mark,” added the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). “Instead of concentrating on the medical needs and socio-economic relief for the people, state agents are running roughshod on human rights.”
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, WCC interim general secretary, said the prayers of the WCC fellowship are with Andres and his family. ”Rev. Andres’s life and his work are sacred to his nation and the world,” Sauca said. “We stand in solidarity with members of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines as they face this terrible situation. We call on the governing bodies of the Philippines to honor their responsibility to preserve human dignity.”
The deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines was the focus of a report presented by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the 44th session of the Human Rights Council which concludes this week.