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Rural missionary work affected by terrorist financing raps, group says

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Rural missionary work affected by terrorist financing raps, group says
This undated photo posted on February 12, 2020 on the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines - NMR Facebook page shows a nun at a fact-finding mission in Agusan del Norte.
Rural Missionaries of the Philippines - NMR Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Terrorist financing raps filed by the Department of Justice have affected the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines' humanitarian operations, the group said as it stressed that its projects were properly documented and are above board. 

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, RMP said that its missionary work with peasants, indigenous peoples and other rural poor has been "seriously hampered" because of what they said were relentless state attacks. 

This comes after the DOJ indicted 16 people on terrorist financing raps. Most of the respondents are members of the group, including nuns. Terrorist financing is a non-bailable charge. 

"All RMP projects are well-documented, reported and accounted for. It has complied with requirements in securing funds for their projects, including audits," RMP said as it expressed concern for the safety of those charged. 

It said that the charges follow "the same playbook" as the Duterte administration in discrediting legal organizations that provide much-needed services to communities.

RELATED: Belgian NGO: ALCADEV funding for growing greens, not raising Reds

RMP in its statement also pointed out that the DOJ's charges were based on the testimonies of two supposed surrenderees with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army. 

In 2019, the Anti-Money Laundering Council also froze three of the RMP's bank accounts which was later expanded to other accounts in 2020. 

The group questioned the circumstances behind the testimony, saying that the unnamed surrenderee was made to "execute a spurious statement" accusing the group of communist links in exchange for the release of her mother who was also in custody. 

RELATED: Another Belgian NGO defends partners tagged as rebel fronts

with reports from Kristine Joy Patag 

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

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