Cal-Nev Philippines Delegation Arriving Back on Friday

July 30, 2009

The delegation from the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church that has been on a pastoral and solidarity visit to the Philippines for the past two weeks is returning on Friday, July 31.


The group's return comes a day after the state meeting, in Washington, D.C., between Philippines President Arroyo and United States President Barack Obama - the first of his Presidency. Alleged human rights violations in the Philippines was not on the agenda for the meeting, which sparked protests from activist groups demanding that Washington hold Arroyo accountable for the disappearances, torture, and killings that have marked her administration. The abuses are blamed on the Philippines military.


The Cal-Nev delegation was asked by a human rights advocacy group to serve as escort to victim Melissa Roxas, a U.S. citizen, in an effort to ensure her safety. Roxas had petitioned for an investigation into her case and for court-ordered protection for herself and her family. She disappeared in May, while serving as a medical volunteer in the Philippines. Roxas says she was abducted by men she believes were members of the military, taken to what she believes was a military compound, and tortured for six days before being released.


The flight carrying the Cal-Nev delegation and Roxas is due to land at San Francisco International Airport at 9:50 a.m.