LOVE THAT IS REAL AND ACTIVE! Defying risks accompanying our involvement, our growing number of lay co-workers continue to implement various programs and initiatives of RMP-NMR with a happy heart and a sense of mission.
Manila, Philippines - The women and men religious, clergy and lay workers of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) reiterated its call for the immediate and unconditional release of Amelia "Amy" Pond, Regional Coordinator of RMP - Southern Mindanao Region (RMP-SMR), as well as a teacher, research-documentation officer of Salugpongan Schools in Mindanao. The arrest of Pond is a clear intimidation and harassment to the rural missionaries and supporters of Lumad people in Mindanao and other sectors based in the rural areas.
"We urge President Duterte to take immediate action on Pond's case. The cases filed against her were baseless and violated her basic human rights. We also view it as part in sabotaging the formal peace talks between the gov't and National Democratic Front of the Philippines," stated by Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS, National Coordinator of RMP.
Pond was illegally arrested by 4 elements of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) last August 19 at noon while on a taxi on her way out after the 3-day 28th RMP National Assembly at LGC Renewal Center, Archbishop Reyes Avenue, Cebu City. At present, she is detained in Camp Sotero Cabahug in the same city.
Lawyers and supporters of Pond filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus yesterday and is waiting for the result of the hearing.
"This is solely undermining the church of the poor to which Pope Francis have been challenging us to give a voice to the cry of the poor. This is what Pond and members of the RMP been carrying out, serving the rural poor particularly the Lumad people. We decry treating helping the rural poor and Lumad as a crime and persecuting those who offer their lives for others!"
As part of literacy numeracy project, RMP SMR has more than 40 Lumad Salugpongan schools to which Pond is a teacher.
Aside from Pond, a lay worker and an agriculturist from RMP Northern Mindanao Region and SMR are still detained with fabricated charges, namely Joel Yagao, charged with multiple murder and Dominiciano Muya multiple murder, illegal possesion of firearms and other cases.
RMP asserted that it will continue its collective witnessing and prophetic actions in serving the rural poor and called on religious community for help in campaigning for Pond's immediate release, as well as to denounce the baseless act of CIDG. ###
August 24, 2016
Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS