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US Military Policy Attacked: CEN 2.08.08 p 7. February 9, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Philippines, Nippon Sei Ko Kai.


gloria-arroyo.jpgChurch leaders from the Philippines and Japan have issued a joint statement denouncing US military policies in East Asia, and condemned plans for a free trade agreement between the two countries.

“We stand against the forces of war and militarism: we lament the sustained US military war exercises in Mindanao and their presence in the rest of the Philippines, and the expansion of its bases in Okinawa,” delegates from the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and the National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ) said at the close of their joint Jan 21-25 meeting in Davao City.

Church leaders from the two countries noted that though the social and economic realities of their societies were very different, both nations were linked “are inextricably linked to the designs of the Empire especially its use of militarism as a tool for control and dominance.”

“We do not want our countries as launching pads for the US wars of aggression against the peoples of the world for its sole economic and political interests,” they said.

The church groups called the proposed Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, a free trade pact, “one sided, unequal and deceptive pact.” It would be “hugely beneficial” for Japan “but will surely aggravate the Filipino people’s misery.”

The conference also denounced “the continued political killings and other human rights violations in the Philippines whose targets are known critics of the policies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.” (pictured)

In his conference address, the Rev. Rex Reyes, Jr., General Secretary of the NCCP accused the government of President Arroyo of having betrayed the people. The Anglican priest said the Arroyo presidency had led to “the repression and the militarization of the countryside.”

“The government’s counter-insurgency campaign, under the guise of war against terror,” had been implemented to enrich the government and its cronies through “the implementation of the economic policies of liberalization and privatization.”

The “repressive policies of the government” which had banned strikes and placed the country in a “state of emergency” were “meant to stifle principled dissent.”

“Peace and justice” remained an “enduring concern” for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and the NCCP he said. The churches sought not to replace one regime with another, but to foster a “theology and spirituality that affirms the sanctity of life and the gifts of grace and providence bestowed on us by the Creator,” he said, and lead to the transformation of Filipino society.

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