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MFSA Supports the Rights of Indigenous Miners in The Philippines
Oregon-Idaho Chapter Stands Against the Death Penalty
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Volume VII  Issue 15                 

5 September 2012





Recently I participated in a Volunteers in Mission advocacy and medical mission trip to my home country of The Philippines. During our time in Davao City we participated in honoring the life and work of Fr. Fausto 'Pops' Tentorio, an Italian Roman Catholic missionary of the PIME order, well-known and loved for his work as a strong opponent of corporate mining.  He had received death threats and was assassinated on the parish grounds.  Before he fell to the ground he had been hit by more than 10 bullets from a silencer-equipped machine pistol.

The next three days was spent in the village of Dulyan, in the town of Talaingod in the Davao del Norte province. Dulyan is populated by an indigenous tribe called Ata-Manobo, which has its own indigenous language distinct from that of the main lowland language in Mindanao called Binisaya (or Cebuano), which I speak. While the residents of this area live daily lives without many of the comforts those of us in America have taken for granted, nothing was more appalling than the health situation in the area.  Children were underweight, basic food was scarce, and a rat infestation was destroying crops. Medical services were so rare that many walked from other villages for a whole day, in some cases, two, to take advantage of the services our team was providing.. 

The village school teaches up to the sixth grade.  Founded with the support of Fr. Pops, the school teaches, among other things, concepts of ancestral rights to land and communal ownership of it, along with other basic human rights.  The school uses a mother-tongue approach so the children learn through their everyday language, along with learning Binisaya, the dominant language in Mindanao, as well as Filipino (or Tagalog) and English.  The school, though recognized by the government, is nevertheless under pressure to close down for fear of it being controlled by the New People's Army.

Dialogues were conducted among various sectors like the political leaders, women, children, youth and teachers.  The leaders were intent on keeping their communal land, keeping away corporate interests.  At the same time they were opening themselves to education with a healthy respect to their culture.  Culture of course is a battleground within the village.  While there was agreement on the concept of ancestral domain and communal ownership of land, there was ferment in other areas.  For example, women wanted an end, at least eventually, to arranged marriages (as early as 13 or 14 years old), to have access to birth control methods and the eventual demise of patriarchy.

Leaving Dulyan, our group, which also included MFSA's other Cross-Cultural Co-Coordinator, Rev. Richard Bentley, was reminded that the people we met there were filled with hope for the future. Filled with that same hope, we at MFSA are continuing to strengthen our relationships within The United Methodist Church in The Philippines, raising awareness of the challenges faced in our global struggle for peace with justice. Won't you join us in this amazing time of learning, listening, working, and advocating together?

Haniel Garibay, Home Missioner
Cross-Cultural Co-Coordinator

National CalltoActionAlternativeMFSA Supports the Rights of Indigenous Miners   

An example of open pit mining in The Philippines. Photo from
MFSA Cross-Cultural Coalition Co-Coordinators, Rev. Richard Bentley and Haniel Garibay, Home Missioner, recently participated in a Volunteer in Mission advocacy and medical mission trip to the Mindinao Province of The Philippines. While there, they met with indigenous miners who are struggling to keep their small-scale mines in the face of large, open pit mines owned by multinational corporations.

Through their experiences and using the work of the United Methodist Social Principles, MFSA has released a statement regarding this situation in The Philippines. You can read the full text of this statement by clicking here.
Oregon-Idaho Chapter Stands Against Death Penalty
Rev. Dave Bean stands against the death penalty in Portland, OR. Photo courtesy of Rev. Dave Bean 

A group of 50 or more gathered in downtown Portland, Oregon at Pioneer Courthouse Square on August 30th in a rally aimed at gathering support for abolishing the death penalty in Oregon. MFSA's Oregon-Idaho Chapter President Rev. Dave Bean was among the throng that included women, men, and children of all ages.


Gathered in a semi-circle in the popular location known as "Portland's living room", each person held up a large cardboard sign with a question mark on one side and a question challenging the efficacy of the death penalty on the other. In turn each person then went to the center of the Square and shouted out the question on their sign. The group then scattered to all sides of the Square to expose the signs to pedestrian onlookers and passing motorists. "We're bringing groups together like MFSA, OADP (Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty), Catholics and others to continue the momentum to end the death penalty in Oregon," said Bean. From all accounts the rally was a great success!

International Day of Peace

Each year on Sept. 21, the United Nations marks the  International Day of Peace. Passed by the U.N. General Assembly in 2001, the day is to be "devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples." Beginning in 2004, the World Council of Churches has marked the day with an International Day of Prayer for Peace. A spiritually-based, multifaith 24-hour vigil for peace has taken place each year around the world.

How can you participate in your local community?
*Participate in a local vigil. Find out if there is one in your area!
*Not one near you? Consider organizing your own event.
*If you have an event at your church, with your local MFSA Chapter, or with others near you, please consider sharing photos and reflections with us.
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If you'd like to see what others are saying, just do a Twitter search for #mfsavoices


Methodist Federation for Social Action
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