The Cordillera Peoples Alliance commends the Mountain Province Provincial Board and Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr.; Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP) Council of Bishops under the leadership of Prime Bishop Joel Pachao; Lagawe mayor Martin Habawel Jr., local government officials and employees, and individuals from the academe and churches in Ifugao for defending human rights and standing by CPA leaders and peoples’ organizations against terrorist tagging and rights violations.
We thank Mt. Prov. Provincial Board for issuing Resolution No. 2018-182 “requesting the Philippine government thru the Department of Justice to drop from its terrorist list the following individuals, namely, Beverly L. Longid, Windel Bolinget, Joan Carling, Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Joana Kintanar-Cariño and Atty. Jose Mencio Molintas” on April 24, 2018.
We are equally grateful to the Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP) Council of Bishops for issuing a statement urging the Department of Justice “to withdraw the list if not the petition altogether” and also urging the ECP constituency to “remain vigilant in protecting our rights.”
We also thank Lagawe mayor Martin Habawel Jr., municipal councilors, barangay officials, government employees, and individuals from the academe and churches in Ifugao for condemning the political vilification and terrorist tagging of peoples’ organizations and CPA leaders in the province. The statement of concern and condemnation was issued in response to the branding of legitimate farmers, women’s and indigenous people’s organizations as NPAs and as terrorists. Political vilification fliers were scattered in Lagawe on April 21, 2018 just as delegations from Ifugao were about to travel to attend the 34th Cordillera Day celebration in Baguio.
The Sagada Municipal Council and the Baguio City Council also issued similar resolutions earlier, and many organizations and personalities here and abroad, including the United Nations, have issued statements condemning the DOJ petition and the terrorist tagging of human rights defenders.
The overwhelming support is proof that the CPA leaders and human rights defenders named in the DOJ petition are neither terrorists nor criminals. Activism is not terrorism and to fight for human rights and against the destruction of our lands and resources is not terrorism.
The DOJ petition and the terrorist tagging of human rights defenders clearly show the tyranny of the Duterte regime – the real terrorist. State terrorism of the Duterte regime is experienced in the Cordillera through bombings of communities, militarization, political vilification of peoples’ organizations and individual human rights defenders, extrajudicial killings, harassment and intimidation of individuals asserting human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights, filing of fabricated charges against activists, terrorist-tagging, and development aggression through destructive projects.
CPA reiterates its call for the government to immediately dismiss the baseless DOJ petition, uphold human rights and ensure the security of human rights defenders, pullout AFP troops in Cordillera communities, and stop the entry of destructive projects in the region.
We call on our fellow Igorots and freedom-loving citizens to be vigilant of the nationwide tyranny of President Duterte and actively resist rights violations. Let us uphold the Igorot tradition of defending our ili and umili from exploitation and plunder by the State and private corporations.
We also urge other local government units and officials, the legal community, church, academe, organizations and groups to issue resolutions and statements of concern and join the peoples’ struggle for genuine democracy and just peace.
Isakit ti kailian, salakniban ti daga, biag ken dayaw!
For reference: Bestang Dekdeken, Secretary General