The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) condemned the order freezing the bank accounts and assets of a United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) center in Davao City.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on March 12 froze the assets of UCCP Haran (Home and Altar for Renewal, Action, and Nurture) covering 3 bank accounts for allegedly financing terrorism, citing Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.
The UCCP Haran is a known refuge for displaced Lumad people.
“This is a direct assault on the ministry of UCCP and would further put in danger the lives of the internally displaced Lumads who sought refuge in Haran,” the NCCP said.
The church group called on the government to lift the order and stop harassing the Protestant center and other rights defenders.
“It is very disturbing that the right to the exercise of the freedom of religion and the ministries in furtherance of our religious beliefs, to love God by loving our neighbor, is being violated by the government,” the NCCP said.
This is the latest in a string of harassment incidents against the Protestant church, with UCCP bishops facing alleged trafficking and child abuse complaints in September 2020. These complaints have since been dismissed, said UCCP.
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has red-tagged UCCP Haran, accusing the latter as a “center of propaganda, education, and recruitment” by communist rebels.
In Davao City, state security forces also repeatedly went after unionists and workers in a bid to stifle dissent.
The Duterte administration has intensified its crackdown against activists and unionists critical of the administration, many of whom had been red-tagged by the NTF-ELCAC.