ILOILO CITY – Eight (8) bishops across Western Visayas, in their pastoral letter signed 15th January 2021, expressed their strongest condemnation to the massacre of nine (9) Tumandok leaders and the illegal arrest of 16 others during the joint operation of the AFP and PNP last December 30, 2020.
“WE CONDEMN in the strongest possible term, all the KILLINGS and especially, the KILLINGS of our BROTHERS– the TUMANDOKS,” said bishops.
The bishops also empathized with the Tumandoks especially to the family of the Tumandok 9. They demanded for a thorough investigation of the incident by an independent body; for the government, the church, and the business community to “listen to the legitimate cries of the Tumandoks against the construction of the Jalaur Mega Dam;” to stop the militarization of IP communities; for the state forces to follow the ethical standard in their operations; and for the police officers to use body cameras in all its operations to prevent false accusations, and to protect the civilians from the use of violence or abuse of power.
“We also encourage the ILONGGO community to reach out in compassion to our bereaved and displaced TUMANDOK brothers and sisters,” the bishops said.
The bishops ended, “let us all together contribute whatever we can do to: STOP THE KILLINGS; RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE TO LIVE IN PEACE; and STOP THE MILITARIZATION OF THE IP COMMUNITIES!”
Read the Pastoral Letter of Western Visayas Bishops on the Tumandok Killings HERE.