A growing number of solidarity messages and global support is pouring in for Cordillera Peoples Alliance and its Chairperson, Windel Bolinget who was charged with a trumped-up murder case.
Various organizations in the Philippines and abroad has issued statements of condemnation for the spiteful accusations of the police against Bolinget, showing strong support for the falsely accused Indigenous leader and human rights defender who has been a vocal critic of the Duterte regime.
Through a statement from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), UN human rights experts also joins in by calling on the Philippine authorities to drop the charge against Bolinget.
“Human rights defenders in the Philippines continue to be red-tagged, labeled as ‘terrorists’ and ultimately killed in attempts to silence them and delegitimise their work,” they said.
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Mary Lawlor said, “It (the case) is believed to be a fabricated charge aimed at silencing him and other indigenous rights defenders and the charge should be dropped.”
The experts added that these unfounded charges and accusations are also incredibly damaging, not only to the individual, but also to other human rights defenders and civil society actors in the country.
The Anglican Church of Canada along with other religious formations, in a letter addressed to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marc Garneau, urged the Canadian government to respond to the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines citing the fabricated murder charge against Bolinget and the massacre of nine Tumandok Indigenous community leaders in Panay last year. The slain Tumandok leaders has also been opposing development aggression and the militarization of their communities.
A petition to drop the fabricated charge against Bolinget is circulating online and has already gathered more than a thousand signatures in a mere couple of weeks.
The CPA convey the same burning solidarity to all who have expressed support and continues to stand for truth and justice. We must remain united to resist Duterte’s tyranny and be resolute in advancing the struggle of indigenous peoples for land, life and for self-determination.#
CPA- Deputy Secretary General