Home Equality & Justice Philippine religious superiors hit ‘red-tagging’ of Redemptorist missionaries

Philippine religious superiors hit ‘red-tagging’ of Redemptorist missionaries

The religious superiors said they “stand with” the Redemptorists “who have always been at the forefront of serving the poor"

The justice and peace commission of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) “strongly denounce(d)” what it described as “the malicious and baseless accusation” made against a community of Redemptorists in the northern Philippines.

A mission community of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, commonly known as the Redemptorists, in the city of Laoag in the northern Philippines has been the target of “red-tagging” in the past days.

A tarpaulin was posted outside the compound of the congregation’s Laoag Mission Community on July 22, tagging the missionaries as “communist supporters.”

In a statement signed by Carmelite priest Christian Buenafe, coordinator of AMRSP’s justice and peace commission, said the religious community “stand with” the Redemptorists “who have always been at the forefront of serving the poor, marginalized and the exploited as part of their mission to proclaim the Good News of justice, peace and freedom for all.”

The AMRSP described “red-tagging” or “red-baiting” as the “harassment or persecution of a person because of ‘known or suspected communist sympathies.”

“Red-tagging is very dangerous and can lead to the interception and recording of communication, arrest and detention without charges, restricted travel and personal liberties, examination of bank records, seizure and sequestration of assets,” said the religious organization.

“In conscience, this unfounded accusation must be vehemently denounced,” said Father Victorino Cueto, superior of the congregation’s Vice Province of Manila, in an earlier statement.

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He said it is “truly sad” that the community’s mission engagements resulted in red-tagging. “They are not communists or even their supporters,” said the priest.

“They are Redemptorists who follow the missionary vocation to serve the poor and most abandoned,” he added.

“This kind of action has been happening in many parts of the country,” he said, adding that “causing harm to individual groups, is not acceptable.”

Father Cueto urged the government and the Commission on Human Rights to investigate “this unlawful and unjust act.”

The Redemptorists Laoag Mission Community has been active in assisting the local Church and nearby dioceses in faith formation and in establishing new parishes.

The religious community also provides assistance to various sectors who are in need, such as farmers, workers, and indigenous peoples.

In times of calamity, they were among the first to extend support through relief operations and rehabilitation projects.

The missionaries also assist students to finish their college education through a scholarship program.

“As one Redemptorist family, we stand together! We will not cower in fear. We remain unshaken. We will continue to partake in God’s mission of witnessing to the Good News,” said Father Cueto.

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