‘Avowed Contempt for Human Rights’ Leads Philippine Government to Scrutinize, Harass Christian Aid Workers

Friday, August 9, 2019

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Christians in the Philippines are coming under increasing pressure from the Rodrigo Duterte administration for their involvement in human rights work.

A police investigation into the killing of Pastor Ernesto Javier Estrella on the island of Mindanao Friday has so far yielded the theory that it was a reprisal for his alleged connections to left-leaning groups.

“The number of violent attacks against Christian human rights defenders has alarmingly increased in the three years of President Rodrigo Duterte’s government,” the Ecumenical Bishops Form (EBF) said in a statement it released in response to Estrella’s death. “His avowed contempt for human rights has provided the institutional framework of this violence being committed against those who uphold the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the human person.”

On Saturday another Christian aid worker with the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) was harassed by eight soldiers from a Special Forces Battalion who wanted to bring her in for questioning about her “knowledge of the left.”

After being elected in 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte began a “war on drugs” that has tallied 12,000 deaths to date, at least 2,555 of which were extrajudicial killings by the Philippine National Police, according to Human Rights Watch.