A recent online survey conducted by Caritas Philippines has revealed that a significant majority of Filipinos are opposed to any association between the Catholic Church and the government’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The survey found that 90 percent of respondents expressed their disapproval of the Church’s involvement with the controversial anti-communist task force.
The survey results have raised concerns that the Church’s collaboration with the NTF-ELCAC could potentially compromise its integrity and be perceived as an endorsement of the agency’s alleged human rights violations.
Respondents expressed a deep “fear” that the Church might be “co-opted and used to legitimize” the NTF-ELCAC’s actions, which have been widely criticized for their impact on human rights and civil liberties.
The survey suggests that the majority of respondents believe that the Church can have a more potent influence on government policies and actions by working in solidarity with marginalized communities and other human rights organizations.
Jing Rey Henderson, head of communications at Caritas Philippines, said her organization conducted the online survey “to give voice to the faithful who must be consulted with regarding issues and policies that affect them.”
“It is the core mission of the Church – to advocate for the poor and stand with them. We need to hear their voice if we want to introduce or implement policies or programs,” she said.
Henderson said Caritas Philippines is “open for dialogue and collaboration” with any government agency but it “will remain independent” and will “always side with the poor and marginalized”.
In the survey, respondents are encouraging the Church, particularly the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Public Affairs Commission, to reconsider its involvement with the NTF-ELCAC.
The survey also highlights the need for the Church to utilize innovative approaches to reach a broader audience, particularly the youth, by leveraging social media and other accessible platforms.
It encourages the Church to “popularize” the call for synodality and Fratelli Tutti, promoting dialogue, understanding, and solidarity among diverse groups.