By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Philippine College of Bishops of The United Methodist Church on Monday called on the government anew to allow three of their missionaries to leave and return to their respective countries.
“We are saddened by the fact that in spite of official requests for and in behalf of our three young people, they are still unable to leave the Philippines and in the case of Tawanda Chandiwana, he continues to be in detention,” the group said in a statement.
Zimbabwe national Tawanda Chandinawa has been detained by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Camp Bagong Diwa, while American Adam Thomas Shaw and Malawi citizen Miracle Oswan are being prevented by the BI from leaving the country.
“We reiterate our appeal to the Philippine government to release Tawanda Chandiwana, return the passport of Miracle Osman, and with Adam Shaw, let all of them go back to their respective countries,” it further read.
The three missionaries, the group said, do not want to overstay in the Philippines.
“They don’t want to stay longer than their visas allow them to. And they are willing to leave the country peacefully,” they said.
The group then called on all United Methodist Church congregations within the Philippines Central Conference to circulate and read the official appeal of the PCC College of Bishops to all their members, including the statement of the Council of Bishops through its President, Bishop Kenneth Carter and the General Board of Global Ministries through its General Secretary, Dr. Thomas Kemper.
“We further call on all United Methodist Church congregations within the Davao Episcopal Area, Manila Episcopal Area, and Baguio Episcopal Area to pray for the safety of our three Global Mission Fellows and eventually for the Philippine government to allow our three young people to leave the country,” read the statement.
“We will include this in our pastoral prayers every Sunday in all our worship services until they are finally released,” it further read.