Faith-based humanitarian groups raise concern over Bautista as DSWD chief

Faith-based humanitarian groups raise concern over Bautista as DSWD chief

Retired Army Chief Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista. RTVM SCREENSHOT

By CBCP News

October 15, 2018

Manila, Philippines

Faith-based humanitarian organizations have expressed concern over the looming appointment of a retired military official as the next social welfare secretary.

In a statement, the Philippine FBO (faith-based organizations) Forum said the background of former Army chief Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista is contrary to the mandate of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“Bautista has no proven track record and experience on social protection programs, social development work, and poverty reduction,” the PFF said.

“Moreover, his military principles may possibly compromise the independence of social services and humanitarian action in poor communities and environment in conflict,” it said.

The PFF is composed of Caritas Philippines and the humanitarian arms of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

As FBOs delivering services to vulnerable communities, the social welfare agency, according to them, is something they cannot entrust to a military man whose background is “counter-terrorism”.

The organizations, being accredited humanitarian agencies by DSWD, asked the Commission on Appointments to ensure that the agency’s humanitarian principles are upheld and will not be tainted by any military or political objective.

“We constantly pray that the government will do its responsibility to respect, promote, protect and uphold human rights, especially in the midst of conflict and disasters,” they added.

The PFFs also urged the humanitarian community and other faith-based groups to speak up and assert the universally-accepted principles of humanitarian action in the discourse.

“We call on our churches, social action centers and ministries, congregations, and partners to stay vigilant in these critical times, when our mission to serve the least of our sisters and brothers, is being threatened and undermined,” they added.