The Division of Church and Society of the National Council of Churches has expressed concern about a visit made to the Philippines in July by United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez.
In a resolution, the agency expressed "disappointment and sadness" that the union leader had accepted an award from te Philippine government, and voiced "profound concern" about reports that Chavez had made statements favorable to the Marcos regime.
The resolution was prompted by a July 29 article in The Washington Post that said that Chavez "was impressed by what he had seen of martial law in the Philippines." It quoted him as saying that he had met with 60 union leaders and "every one of them said it's a hell of a lot better now (under martial law) than it was before."
In its resolution, the NCC agency asked Chavez to respond to requests for a meeting with concerned Filipinos in the United States "in order that misunderstandings can be eliminated and positions clarified."
John Moyer, president of the National Farm Worker Ministry and a member of the NCC Division of Church and Society, reported that Chavez had made the trip at the request of Filipino members of the United Farm Workers.
He asserted that Chavez "has not and will not make any statement supporting martial law," and maintained that the article stemmed from a personal dispute between Chavez and the reporter.
Following the vote, the Rev. Edwin M. Luidens' director for East Asia and the Pacific in the NCC's Division of Overseas Ministries, said many Asian Christians had urged the National Council to speak out on the Chavez visit.avez visit.