QUEZON City, March 9, 2015—Lest they be forgotten, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has reminded the public that besides those of 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), the tragedy of Mamasapano also claimed the lives of 23 more individuals.
In a statement, NCCP says that while it is one with the nation in weeping for the “Fallen 44,” who died in what it describes as a “shoddy and suspect operation under the command of the suspended PNP Chief Purisima whose immediate boss is the Commander-in-Chief of the land,” it also mourns the demise of 18 Moro fighters and five civilians who were casualties of the botched operation.
“We mourn for the 18 Moro fighters and five civilians who were also casualties of the botched operation. We weep for Sara Pananggulon, an eight year-old girl who, in her peaceful sleep in the company of her parents, was shot dead by SAF troopers, who fired upon her house. We grieve with her parents and community, as another precious child was taken away from us in the name of ‘war on terror’ ,” the group shares.
NCCP mentions one Badrudin Langalan, a farmer who left his home very early in the morning allegedly to recharge his cell phone, but whose his lifeless body, “with hands and feet bound,” was found among those of the Fallen 44, after the operation.
“We weep for their lives have been unnecessarily sacrificed. As we weep for their lives, we call for Truth and Accountability on the Mamasapano incident,” it says.
The group consisting of non-Catholic Christian churches, moreover, laments the corruption that steals resources deeply needed by the poor, who still languish under structural negligence while the government fails to address poverty and hunger, joblessness and non-delivery of social and basic services.
According to NCCP, the wealth of the powerful in government and their allies continues to appallingly increase, while the poor live hungry and in need.
“We reject this kind of governance and call for justice and meaningful change,” it stresses.
Righteous, collective leadership
It admits, however, that the search for justice and truth “takes a great, righteous and collective leadership, rooted in the interests and aspiration of the people to shepherd the nation, quoting Proverbs 29:2 which reads: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”
“We can no longer take such wicked ways of governing the people … We prayerfully and collectively proclaim: we will only be comforted when there is truth and accountability, when justice is served to the people, when true reform is engaged, and when there is democratic governance by the people,” the group adds. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)