The Ramento Project for Rights Defenders (RPRD) entered into bilateral partnerships with a number of Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) dioceses outside of the South Central Luzon region, an undertaking necessitated by the perceived intensified political attacks against IFi bishops, priests and lay members.
Under these partnerships of cooperation, RPRD will take joint initiatives with the Diocese of Negros Oriental and Siquijor and Diocese of Cebu in Central Visayas, and the Diocese of Tarlac in North-Central Luzon, for human rights actions.
RPRD will work with Diocese of Negros Oriental and Siquijor and Diocese of Cebu on the cases of extrajudicial killings of IFI lay members and the harassment and threats against clergy of the two dioceses.
Since October 2018, the Diocese of Negros Oriental and Siquijor have lost 7 parishioners to politically motivated killings while 9 parishioners in the Diocese of Cebu fell victims to drug-related killings. A significant number of clergy and lay people presently suffer from continuing threats and illegal arrest.
Partnership with the Diocese of Tarlac is focused on addressing the plight of Ayta minorities in Central Luzon whose rights to ancestral lands and self-determination have been severely threatened by development aggression and military intrusions into their communities.
RPRD is a human rights program of the South Central Bishops Conference. Formed in 2008, it was envisioned to sustain and strengthen the IFI’s human rights engagement and to offer assistance and support to the ministry of faith-based human rights defenders.
RPRD Board and SCL Bishops Conference gave official approval to the bilateral partnerships during its meeting on October 16, 2019.