News article
The latest news in Eastern Visayas region
Liribakan chat roomdiscussion forummessage boardfeedback pagetv channelnetwork pagehome page

Follow samarnews on Facebook

more news...

PSA joins first and biggest Bagong Pilipinas Serbisyo Fair in Naval

Samar farmers visit Leyte farm

Three MPBs built in barangays of Calbayog City

Calbayog Airport by-pass road commences second phase

NMP nabs "Outstanding e-NGAs User Entity Award"

SFDEO implements two farm-to-market roads

Delicious fruit products from the Philippines are best-sellers in the EU market

“Biyahe ni Drew” features E. Samar farmers’ products




Rural Missionaries of Philippines: Can we get back to our ministries?

Press Release
August 30, 2023

QUEZON CITY – For more than two years, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines is unable to access their funds in the bank and use them for their mission activities. Fifteen bank accounts in total -- four of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and eleven of the RMP-Northern Mindanao -- are currently subject of a civil forfeiture case pursued by the government, that wrongfully alleged that these funds are being used for terrorism financing. Today begins the presentation of the RMP for its defense on the case being heard by the Executive Judge of Manila, who is concurrently the presiding judge of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 18, Carolina C. Icasiano-Sison.

“These trumped-up charges have been difficult to bear for us rural missionaries. Our hearts are committed to service with the poor. These false charges by the National Investigation Coordinating Agency (NICA) have been a significant burden for us. We long to enjoy the freedom to help the most marginalized and under-served farmers, farmworkers, indigenous peoples, and fisherfolk,” said the Rural Missionaries of of the Philippines Leadership Team.

“Many communities rely on the accompaniment and development services of the RMP. From peasants in the mountains of Negros to fisherfolk on the shores of Rizal, rural missionaries have been integral in helping many marginalized communities. The poor are the ones suffering the most from the attacks on RMP,” said Fernando Hicap of Pamalakaya-Pilipinas.

“Don’t they know that Rural Missionaries are trying to address the roots of armed conflict in rural areas? The Rural Missionaries were at the forefront of rural health programs. Three Catholic nuns of RMP founded the Community-Based Health Program in 1973. RMP priests, nuns, and lay missionaries are some of the most selfless and noble persons you can meet. It is ridiculous to accuse them of financing or supporting terrorism,” said Dr. Leni Jara of the Council for Health and Development.

The national office of the RMP, aided by their legal team, will present its defense over the next weeks in order to prove that funds from projects have been used properly and audited closely, and that none of these were used by either RMP or RMP-NMR to help or finance terrorism.

“Today is the first time that we begin to present the evidence in our defense. We have been maliciously accused for several years already. Our ministry as Rural Missionaries is simple and straightforward - we are missionaries who help. These fabricated charges deny the poorest of our ministries and deny us our freedom to help the rural poor,” added the RMP Leadership Team.

“The State, with its counter-insurgency program through the ‘whole of nation approach’ and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), is using terrorism legislation to attempt to persecute and falsely label progressive organizations as supporters of terrorism, thus, vilifying them and denying human rights and civil liberties. The false allegations against RMP are one of the ‘test cases’ for this new type of malicious attack,” said Cristina Palabay of Karapatan.

Supporters gathered in vigil outside the Manila RTC, ringing bells to illustrate that the evidence against RMP is fabricated. Vowing to let truth and freedom ring, Church people and leaders from people’s organizations who had partnered with RMP through the years delivered messages of support and appreciation for the 54 years that RMP has served the Filipino people.

“We hold on with cast-iron certainty that God is with us. God’s mission serves His most loved creatures who are on the margins of our society. Stand by us and let our God-given fighting spirit, talent and mission to serve the least of our sisters and brothers be offered back to God. We cannot but be faithful to our prophetic mission for God and His people,” said the RMP Leadership team.