Mindoro peace and mercy mission decry military harassment

An ecumenical network composed of church people, human rights defenders and peace advocates organized a peace and mercy mission in Mindoro island on October 28-31, 2019 that sought to extend humanitarian assistance to Mangyan families that are living in evacuation centers and whose communities are severely affected by militarization.

Organized by by the Southern Tagalog Regional Ecumenical Affairs Movement (STREAM) in partnership with the Serve the People Corps, the undertaking offered relief mission, moral support, and counseling and prayers to distressed Mangyan communities in the municipalities of Victoria and Roxas in Mindoro Oriental, and in the municipality of Mansalay in Mindoro Occidental.

Peace and mercy mission organizers, however, decried what they called as sabotage operations against the humanitarian mission after reports about the military preventing Mangyan families from joining relief and counseling activities.

Organizers also complained about the military linking them to suspected leftist organizations and how they were tailed by suspected state security and intelligence forces from Calapan port to their destinations in the villages and evacuation centers.

The convoy was stopped several times on the road by uniformed military authorities who also took films and pictures of the vehicles and members of the ecumenical caravan. Caravan leaders have to repeatedly negotiate with the military and police who closely monitored their activities throughout the entire duration of the exumenical mission.

Organizers of the ecumenical peace and mercy mission vowed to continue serve marginalized and underprivileged communities and groups despite the upsurge in the harassment, surveillance and vilification of church people, human rights defenders and peace advocates.

Joining the ecumenical mission were clergy of the the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) Fr. Joel Galicha and Deacon Rodner Fornea of the Diocese of Romblon and Mindoros, and Ramento Project for Rights Defenders (RPRD) personnel Rev. Grace Masegman and Fr. Wilfredo Ruazol.

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