Posted: February 21, 2007
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Pro-terror bill candidates and political parties should not be supported -- CPA


Following AFP Chief of Staff Esperon’s declaration on Oplan Bantay Laya II, the Arroyo government is hell-bent in rushing the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Bill before the May 2007 elections. Anticipating greater human rights violations, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), the widest federation of people’s organizations in the region, calls on the public not to support electoral candidates and political parties who have authored and endorsed the Bill and hold the Arroyo government condemnable for this draconian law.

We expect state terrorism to heighten with the signing of the Bill, which will ultimately result tounprecedented human rights violations. There will be no let-up in political and extrajudicial killings. Instead, these will continue with impunity. The Arroyo government’s policy on political killings and assassinations will be easily legitimized with the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill. It will legalize the brutal attacks of Oplan Bantay Laya I and II on the basic rights and civil liberties of the people. This is not solving terrorism but terrorizing the Filipino people.

Why is the Arroyo regime hell-bent in maneuvering the passage of the terrorist bill before the May 2007 elections? The answer is crystal-clear. It fears that the May elections turn-out will have more opposition and progressive candidates winning who will certainly derail the enactment of the terrorist bill. The Arroyo regime is determined to sacrifice the people’s democratic rights just to satisfy the terrorist appetite of the world’s number one terrorist, US imperialism.

Terrorism defined in the Bill is both very vague and broad that legitimate people’s actions and social dissent, enshrined in the Philippine Constitution and international laws, are acts of terrorism. Even indigenous peoples’ collective resistance against destructive projects and defense of their rights are easily considered terrorism thereby justifying ethnocide, massive militarization, political repression and gross human rights violations.

The CPA has blazed in advancing indigenous peoples’ collective rights to land and resources and the Cordillera peoples movement since its establishment in 1984. In serving the people, several of its leaders and members have been assassinated as a result of the OBL. Meanwhile, surveillance, harassment and serious threats against CPA leaders continue unabated. Since Arroyo assumed presidency in 2001, there has been more than 818 victims of political killings, 120 of which are indigenous peoples and 33 of these belong to Cordillera indigenous groups. This is on top of the thousands of orphaned families and communities by the Arroyo government’s state terrorism.

Fighting for indigenous peoples rights is not an act of terrorism. The CPA believes that the real terrorist is the Arroyo regime, and as long as President Arroyo remains in power, the Cordillera indigenous peoples will continue to suffer from state terrorism. The Bill adds to the arsenal of draconian laws and policies that will hasten the collapse and ouster of the Arroyo regime.

The passage of the ATB must serve as one criterion of the people, human rights advocates and defenders of civil liberties in voting for the May 2007 elections. Legislators and political parties who authored and supported the terrorist bill must be not be voted. They have proven in their track-record that they are not for human rights, democracy and social justice. ###

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