A Statement on Martial Law
Expression of Concern on Related Issues
20 May 1974
We, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, responding to what we believe is God’s will for us these days, solemnly pledge to do our best in the building of a new society:
- By challenging all to a life of faith and holiness, beginning with those who are within the fellowship of the Church;
- By giving unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, unto God the things that are God’s;
- By praying for those who are in authority, that they may be instruments of God in preserving peace and order, prompting righteousness and justice, securing equality and opportunity for all, and safeguarding the worth and dignity of human persons.
- By seeking the truth which makes men free and working for freedom that makes men whole;
- By witnessing to the liberating power of the Gospel which sets free both the oppressed and the oppressor;
- By opposing abuses and corruption in the church and in the government;
- By gearing and girding our educational programs to help meet the pressing needs of our people;
- Be engaging in various forms of Christian service to those detained but not charged in court, to prisoners in need of spiritual comfort and pastoral care, to farm and industrial workers seeking wages and better conditions of living, to the poor and the underprivileged who need to feel the touch of the Master’s love;
- By upholding the due processes of democracy in church and society;
- By nurturing church members into a more aggressive and dynamic discipleship that will dispel the atmosphere of fear, knowing that God has given us the spirit of love and not of fear;
- By being prophetic in preaching, serving, and witnessing and being true to the mandates of our Lord;
- By offering ourselves as a reconciling agent to heal broken relationships and foster understanding, trust, and brotherhood.
In the context of this total concern, we address ourselves to some specific issues which affect the entire Filipino nation:
- Announcement has been made that there might be another referendum within a month or two. Whenever it may be and whatever the issues are, we request the President that he reassures us that there is freedom of speech so that voters can discuss the issues intelligently. Our people should be encouraged to speak out their minds candidly. Furthermore, to help give maximum assurance to our people that fairness and freedom are truly respected, we suggest to the President that the conduct of the coming referendum be entrusted to and independent body composed of citizens whose integrity is beyond reproach, such as the retired justices of the Supreme Court.
- We are alarmed by the rapid growth of multinational corporations in the Philippines. We are particularly concerned about the adverse effect of the Philippine-Japan Treaty of Commerce and Navigation. We therefore call on the appropriate authorities and knowledgeable citizens to be most vigilant and to share thinking as widely as possible, so that the people ca participate in making decisions that affect their livelihood and their future.
- Under the regime of Martial Law, the military has a big hand in the carrying out of government programs. We pray that they will have the strength equal to the task. We are deeply concerned by the fact that many of those being detained have not been charged in court. We appeal for a more speedy dispensation of justice. Furthermore, we express disapproval of any maltreatment of citizens, believing that every individual, however lowly and humble he may be, is a child of the Heavenly Father.
Ref: General Assembly, May 20, 1974, Appendix XVI pp. 152-153