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CPA statement on the recent wave of arrests and attacks against activists in Negros, Manila, Southern Tagalog and Davao

November 6, 2019

“In times of tyranny and injustice, when law oppresses the people, the ‘outlawed’ takes his place in history.”

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance strongly condemns the recent Gestapo-like raids of offices and homes of leaders of people’s organizations in Negros and Manila that led to the arrest of 62 human rights defenders, most of whom are unionists, cultural activists, and community organizers. We denounce the extra-judicial killing of Rey Malaborbor a peasant and former political prisoner in Laguna, and the possible abduction of human rights worker from Karapatan, Honey Mae Suazo in Southern Mindanao.

The recent wave of attacks on civil liberties and human rights in Negros and Manila was made possible through the use of spurious and dubious search warrants singularly issued by Quezon City Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert. This clearly shows that the integrity of the judiciary is compromised with the weaponization of search warrants in order to stop activists by hook or by crook. Evidences are being planted in the absurdest fashion insulting all sense and logic.

Through the enforcement of Duterte’s Executive Order 70 or the “whole-of-nation approach to end insurgency”, combined elements of the AFP and PNP have been using brute force to intimidate, harass, vilify and even kill defenders of human rights, environment and land rights.

Under EO 70, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, CPA affiliate organizations and CPA leaders have been named as “communist terrorist groups and individuals.” This baseless and malicious tagging puts at risk the lives of many Cordillera indigenous peoples and communities in the name of “counter-insurgency.”

In 2018, anti-dam activist Ricardo Mayumi was extrajudicially killed for leading the fight against destructive energy projects in Ifugao. Brandon Lee, a human rights volunteer who took up Mayumi’s tasks, almost suffered the same fate when his body was riddled with bullets last ‪August 6‬ but survived and is now recovering.

Since 2018, CPA leaders have been included in the government’s terrorist list. CPA members and indigenous leaders are experiencing intensified surveillance, harassment and trumped-up cases in attempt to stop us from defending our lands and resources against destructive mines and dams.

The Duterte regime has been condemned by the international community for its bloody drug war and outright disregard of human rights and due process. This year, the Philippines has become the most dangerous place in the world for land rights and environmental defenders.

The reign of impunity is happening amidst widespread poverty and discontent especially among indigenous peoples whose lands and resources are targets of State and corporate plunder and destruction, workers who remain contractual, farmers who remain landless, and ordinary citizens victimized by the TRAIN Law, Rice Tariffication Law, Jeepney Phaseout and other anti-people policies of the Duterte regime.

Now, more than ever, let us not be cowed, rather, stand up even more fiercely to assert our right to legitimate dissent, free speech and protection from all forms of harassment and threats. We stand with the whole Filipino people in demanding an end to the anti-people policies of the government that exacerbates the deeply rooted poverty in the country. We stand with all freedom-loving Filipinos of the world to defend civil liberties and end tyrannical regimes.

We are in this juncture of history where silence is not an option. We must bravely stand together and speak out to defend our land and people. As we continue to hold on to the lessons of the past, let us continue to assert that activism is a weapon of the people against injustice, tyranny and fascism.

Activism is not terrorism!

Stop the attacks against indigenous peoples and critics of the fascist Duterte regime! Free the Negros57! Free the Manila5! Justice for Rey Malaborbor!

Surface Honey Mae Suazo!

End impunity! Resist tyranny!

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