The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, commonly known as the Redemptorists, condemned what it described as the “malicious” red-tagging of its mission community in the northern Philippine city of Laoag.
“In conscience, this unfounded accusation must be vehemently denounced,” said Father Victorino Cueto, superior of the congregation’s Vice Province of Manila, in a statement.
He said it is “truly sad” that the community’s mission engagements resulted in red-tagging. “They are not communists or even their supporters,” said the priest.
“They are Redemptorists who follow the missionary vocation to serve the poor and most abandoned,” he added.
The priest made the statement after a tarpaulin was posted outside the compound of the Redemptorists’ Laoag Mission Community on July 22, tagging the missionaries as communist supporters.
“This kind of action has been happening in many parts of the country,” he said, adding that “causing harm to individual groups, is not acceptable.”
Father Cueto urged the government and the Philippine Commission on Human Rights to investigate “this unlawful and unjust act.”
The Redemptorists Laoag Mission Community has been active in assisting the local Church and nearby dioceses in faith formation and in establishing new parishes.
The religious community also provides assistance to various sectors who are in need, such as farmers, workers, and indigenous peoples.
In times of calamity, they were among the first to extend support through relief operations and rehabilitation projects.
The missionaries also assist students to finish their college education through a scholarship program.
“As one Redemptorist family, we stand together! We will not cower in fear,” said Father Cueto.
“We remain unshaken. We will continue to partake in God’s mission of witnessing to the Good News,” he added.
Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines have repeatedly expressed alarm over the spate of killings and the so-called red-tagging of activists, including church workers, in the country.