The Conference of Major Superiors in the Philippines (CMSP) has reaffirmed its commitment to its mission partner that has been at the receiving end of vilification and attacks.
In a statement dated October 25, the leaders of religious congregations working in the country expressed support to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and “its mandate to help the rural poor.”
“We likewise stand by the dedicated and committed RMP members who are working in various mission areas in the peripheries,” the statement read.
On August 15, the Department of Justice charged at least 16, including four religious sisters, affiliated with the RMP for allegedly violating the anti-terrorism financing act.
The justice department accused the religious group of giving a portion of funding it received from foreign organizations to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed-wing New People’s Army.
RMP denied the allegations saying that all of its projects are “well-documented, reported and accounted for.”
The terror financing charge was the latest in the string of attacks against the religious group. In June 2022, RMP’s website was blocked by the National Telecommunications Commission while several bank accounts linked to the group were frozen in 2020.
The religious superiors said they were “gravely concerned about the adverse effects” the attacks on the safety and well-being of RMP members, and “the integrity of their ministry to the poorest of the poor.”
CMSP, formerly known as the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines facilitated the establishment of RMP in 1969 “as an expression of the Church’s opening of windows so the Spirit can blow fresh air within and outside her.”
“In the past 53 years, consecrated women and men, priests, and lay workers have immersed themselves in the faith-life situation of the rural poor and committed to pastoral work in various ministries of RMP in far-flung communities and mission areas,” said the CMSP.
The religious superiors lauded RMP for serving as “a beacon of light” to the poor rural communities.
“[RMP] has unswervingly journeyed with the rural poor in their struggles and hopes for a just, humane and peaceful society,” said the CMSP.
Formed in 1970, the CMSP is a joint forum of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Men in the Philippines and the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Women in the Philippines, founded in 1955 and 1957, respectively.
For many years, the association served as a common voice for men and women religious and an advocate for their individual charisms.
The CMSP is currently composed of 362 religious institutes, societies of apostolic life, secular institutes out of 453 religious and secular institutes in the Philippines.
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