The World Council of Churches (WCC) condemned the massacre earlier this month of 14 farmers by police officers in Canlaon City, as well as Manjuyod and Santa Catalina towns in Negros Oriental in the Philippines. The WCC also renewed its call for the government of the Philippines to end the culture of impunity and to ensure full investigation and accountability for all such killings.
The latest violence occurred in three separate incidents in Negros Island, in the center of the nation’s sugar industry and home to some of the country’s wealthiest landowners as well as some of its poorest farm workers. Two of the victims were local administrative officials and one of those slain was a lay leader of a mission station of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Carlos.
Over and above the suppression of local voices, human rights defenders and grassroots organisations who accompany neglected communities are also targeted.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary, said: “People thirst and hunger for peace and justice. May we, together, as churches, communities, organisations and governments respect life, freedom, and the dignity of each person. We join the National Council of Churches in the Philippines in condemning the killings and the call for open investigations. May justice and peace become a reality in the Philippines”.