Huge Christian church hits Duterte, says PH 'in sickbed'
MANILA, Philippines – The 500,000-strong United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) said the country "is now in sickbed," as President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 23.
In a statement ahead of Duterte's SONA, the UCCP Council of Bishops said they doubt Duterte's sincerity due to his failed promises.
The UCCP Council of Bishops cited Duterte's failure to abolish contractualization, to end armed hostilities, and to stamp out illegal drugs in 6 months, as he promised when he was campaigning for president.
The bishops also recalled audience with Duterte in Malacañang shortly after he took office. The church said Duterte promised to address their concerns, such as resuming peace talks between the government and communist rebels, and stopping the culture of impunity in the country.
"Our own experiences as a church are enough testimonies to doubt the sincerity of the President. A number of our members in the North Luzon Area, for example, are being subjected to harassment by state forces. At least 5 church members in North Luzon are now facing trumped up charges," the UCCP Council of Bishops said.
"The nation is now in sickbed and our people are in distress. Is there no balm in the Philippines?" they added in their statement signed on July 18.
Founded in 1948, the UCCP describes itself as "an indigenous evangelical church formed by the union of Protestant Mission churches and institutions."
The anger of believers rose further after Duterte called God stupid, as he continues to lambast Catholic bishops and priests for hypocrisy. – Rappler.com