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Eroding the positive culture of harmony in Ifugao through vilification

November 9, 2018

Ifugao Peasant Movement

The Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM) condemns the ongoing vilification of activists, human rights and environmental defenders, mass leaders, and allies as NPAs thus putting their security at risk. On the early morning of Oct 11, 2018, Lamut residents took a picture of a black propaganda flier maligning the IPM and the Ub-ubbon di Binabai ad Ifugao (UBI). The fliers were scattered in front of the Lamut municipal police station.

Similar fliers were spread around region II in Isabella and Nueva Vizcaya with the heading “Kilala nyo ba sila?”. The black propaganda fliers in Ifugao tags civilians under the following categories: “Mga NPA sa bayan at syudad” (NPAs in the urban), “Recruiter sa skuls/IFSU”, “NPA kontak”, “Ub-ubon di babai di Ifugao”, and “Innabuyog”.

Some of the civilians tagged are engaged in social campaigns addressing food insecurity by helping with the cure to the camote disease (a recent infestation). Other activists listed are addressing human rights violations in the far flung Ifugao communities. Other campaigns include organizing farmers to build stronger ties among themselves and help each other to advance their general welfare, education of Indigenous Peoples Rights especially in areas where big business interests are present, and women and children’s rights as they are vulnerable to abuse.

The IPM and UBI have always and will always continue to assert the rights of the Ifugao people to defend their land, life, rights, honor, and resources.

However, activists and rights defenders in Ifugao and around the country have relentlessly and unjustly tagged as NPAs which led to the brutal killings of William Bugatti in 2014, and Ricardo Mayumi in 2018.

It can be recalled that black propaganda fliers were also distributed this April around the town center of Lagawe which called for those red-tagged to be wiped out. Numerous Ifugao political, civic, and church leaders and the wider community have condemned these vicious calls and actions through a signed statement of concern and condemnation addressed to government authority.

Democracy has eroded in the time of President Duterte with the crackdown against critics of the administration. Critics are silenced for their dissent and disapproval of the worsening economic situation hitting all marginalized sectors the most and his bloody wars that led to thousands of suspects slaughtered without due process.

The rights and welfare of the vulnerable sectors such as children and indigenous peoples should be upheld and promoted. This is keeping with our shared cultural, religious, and spiritual values.

We join all freedom loving people to let the beacon of light blanket our nation by calling for an immediate stop to these malicious, illegal, and culturally unacceptable actions. We further call on the people to continue to uphold human rights and to resist tyranny! Haggiyo Ifugao!#

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