Sharing to you a newsletter of MP Martin Patzelt in a direct English translation on its website which is in Deutsche. Please Read

From left: Isabel Hess-Friemann, Dean Ulf-Martin Alexander Schmidt, Antonio Nercua Ablon, MP Martin Patzelt MdB and Fr. June Mark Yanez

“Peace is based on justice and charity,” said Bishop Antonio Ablon, whom I welcomed to an exchange on Tuesday (March 3rd, 2020).

  At the beginning of 2020 I took over the sponsorship in the sponsorship program of the German Bundestag “Parliamentarians protect parliamentarians” for the Filipino Bishop Antonio Ablon, who was threatened with death threats, from the Independent Philippine Church (Iglesia Filipina Independiente). The bishop campaigns for the rights of poor indigenous Lumads displaced in Mindanao. 

Filipino President Duterte, the internationally controversial head of state, responsible for tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings, has failed in all of the things he promised the people: poverty reduction, drugs and peace in Mindanao. And yet it remains popular among the people. What hope is there for the Philippines when Duterte, despite everything in the polls in 2019, had about 80 percent of the Filipino population behind it and the opposition in Asia’s oldest democracy is badly off? In the mid-term elections in the Philippines last year, President Duterte’s confidants won nine out of twelve seats in the Senate. Duterte now has a clear majority in the upper house of parliament. 

The bishop, however, patiently puts his hope in the opposition because there are signs of division within the president’s allegiance. Despite the majority, official followers could stand against him in the election. He is more concerned about the anti-terrorism law, which justifies arrest and imprisonment for three months without any further legal basis. Several amendments to the 2007 Anti-Terrorism Act have now been tabled in Congress. The proposals include an expanded definition of “terrorism” and a prolongation of detention without a warrant if terrorism is suspected. This law violates our legal awareness and the right to presume innocence. 

Bishop Antonio Ablon has not applied for asylum, nor does he plan to. He is currently a scholarship holder of the Hamburg Foundation for the Politically Persecuted and would like to use the time to make a difference here in Germany by telling his story and the story of the people of Mindanao. 

I invited him to my constituency and hope that we can also organize joint events at the University of Frankfurt (Oder) and the Ecumenical Europe Center Frankfurt (Oder) eV, for example.  

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