United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Pastor Dan Balucio is a well-known human rights activist, community organizer, and coordinator of Andurong Mayon (Ecumenical Disaster Response and Management Committee) in Albay Province. Pastor Balucio coordinated the ongoing humanitarian response in communities affected by the typhoons Rolly and Ulysees. Through his humanitarian activities in the Philippines, he is part of the civil society movement that facilitated the government’s humanitarian response to such natural disasters as typhoons. He is a social justice advocate and a critic of the Duterte and Marcos Sr. administrations.
On May 2, 2021, at 3:30am, around 30 individuals of the police and military forcibly entered Pastor Balucio’s bungalow at the Shannan Christian Academy in the Barangay San Isidro in St. Domingo Albay Province. Pastor Balucio serves as the administrator of the academy. He was staying there together with his wife and their two children as well as one further UCCP staff member. During the raid, Pastor Balucio’s family was brought outside the house where they had to wait for almost 45 minutes. In the meantime, the police and military went through their belongings without the presence of independent witnesses.
Only when local officials arrived was a search warrant shown to Pastor Balucio. The house was then searched anew for almost another 30 minutes. Yet, in the presence of the local officials, the state security forces allegedly found guns, ammunitions, a grenade, and a red flag of the “armed rebels.” Pastor Balucio was then arrested. This is because an alleged terrorist intent is already a crime under the ATA, thus resulting in a dismantling of legal proceedings for the protection of defendants.
On August 13, 2021, the Legazpi City RTC Branch 10 dismissed all charges against Pastor Balucio and released him from jail. The search warrant was voided due to inconsistencies by the police. Today, Pastor Dan Balucio still feels threatened.
The AMP Human Rights Report from 2022 documents Dan Balucio’s case on page 21.
Download (PDF): AMP-Statement on the arrest of Dan Balucio
Update: January, 27, 2023
Photo © National Council of Churches in the Philippines