• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines


November 14, 2023


Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) has faced countless attacks under the programs of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Now, through the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020, the Anti Terrorism Council (ATC) has arbitrarily designated Indigenous Peoples human rights defenders Windel Bolinget, Jennifer Awingan, Sarah Abellon-Alikes, and Steve Tauli - all leaders of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance - as terrorists.

The ATC Resolution No. 41 was published on July 10, 2023, but was signed and approved by the ATC last June 7, 2023. Moreover, the terrorist designation was issued shortly after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order 33 on July 4, 2023 that included counter proliferation financing in the National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing Terrorism Strategy.

Founded in 1984, CPA is an alliance of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and sectoral formations in the Cordillera, Philippines promoting Indigenous Peoples’ rights, rights and welfare, democracy and social justice. The CPA and its leaders, including Windel Bolinget, Jennifer Awingan, Sarah Abellon-Alikes and Steve Tauli, are neither leaders nor members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New Peoples Army (NPA) which were declared terrorist organizations by the Duterte government in 2018 and has been the basis of the terrorist labelling of CPA and its leaders.


CPA had been subject to countless red-tagging through inclusion in military and police presentations in the early 2000s up to the present, and had even sustained extrajudicial killings of its members through the years. As of present, state forces mark a bright red target to CPA’s activities, leaders—and through the recent ATC resolution, freezing even personal and organizational funds.

Attacks against the four have intensified since 2017 and worsened by the implementation of NTF-ELCAC. Since 2017, Sarah Alikes has been subjected to trumped-up charges of arson and robbery, illegal possession of ammunition, 14 counts of attempted homicide, and multiple counts of International Humanitarian Law complaints. All these cases were dismissed at the court and prosecutorial level.

2018 saw the terrorist proscription list of the Department of Justice (DOJ) wherein Windel Bolinget, among many activists, was included. This was succeeded by unrelenting attacks from 2020 to present, which brought innumerable cases of red-tagging, especially online, targeting CPA, its leaders, and even their family members coupled with surveillance and state forces’ visitation of the homes of Windel and Sarah among other leaders. This was worsened by the murder charge in Tagum, Davao del Norte and the ‘shoot-to-kill’ order ‘if resisting arrest’, manhunt and bounty by Chief Gen. Pagkalinawan of PRO-COR in 2021. In both cases, Bolinget was proven innocent in the removal of his name from the 2018 terrorist proscription list and the dismissal of the trumped-up murder case. He was also among the indigenous leaders who lodged a petition to the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Law in 2021.

Steve Tauli is a victim of torture when he was abducted near the CPA office in Tabuk, Kalinga in August 20, 2022 and returned the following day.

Attacks to these leaders culminated early this year when news of Jen Awingan’s arrest at her Baguio City residence came to light on January 30th. Abra Judge Corpus Alzate issued a Warrant of Arrest towards her and 6 other activists, 4 of which were also leaders of CPA including Bolinget, Alikes and Tauli, for rebellion and insurrection. This was the case of the #NorthernLuzon7, which ended in an approval of the Motion to Quash or remove their names from the list of suspects.

All the aforementioned cases have been dismissed by courts. Last month, Bolinget, Alikes, Tauli and other leaders of CPA also sought legal protection through a Writ of Amparo which was filed at the Supreme Court. Also last month, Windel Bolinget has filed for counterchargesagainst those who implicated him in the murder case in Tagum.


As national human rights alliance Karapatan puts it, “The designation list is a virtual hit-list,” subjecting the four CPA leaders to possible warrantless arrests, detention without charges and incommunicado for up to 24 days, and worse, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

The designation is unjust, without factual basis, and done with clear malicious intent to push individuals into silence and dismantle people’s organizations like the Cordillera Peoples Alliance.

The sustained and heightened attacks against CPA members are mandated by policies and programs of the Philippine government under the rule of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. At the core is the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020, which has been heavily criticized as a major breach to the human rights obligations of the Philippine State.

Now is the time to further challenge the Anti-Terrorism Law with the concrete harm and danger it poses to democracy and civil rights.

We stand as one in calling for the following:

  1. Repeal the Anti-Terrorism Law! Abolish the Anti-Terrorism Council!
  2. Revoke the ATC Resolution no. 41!
  3. Delist the names of Bolinget, Abellon-Alikes, Awingan and Tauli from the ATC’s designated terrorists list!
  4. Unfreeze the bank accounts of the CPA and the 4 CPA leaders!
  5. Stop the weaponization of the law against legal and legitimate political dissent!
  6. Stop Political Persecution!
  7. Abolish the Anti-Terrorism Council!
  8. Prosecute and hold the Duterte and Marcos Governments accountable for its human rights violation!

We thank everyone who signed the first round of the petition. Your involvement has provided great support to our calls.

To all our friends, families, and colleagues, we urge you to stand for human rights, truth, justice. SIGN THE PETITION