• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines


September 4, 2023

Steve, a long-time development worker and Indigenous peoples’ human rights defender, is a member of the Kankanaey tribe from Besao, Mountain Province. He graduated with a degree in BS Forestry from the University of the Philippines Los Banos and actively engaged with the UP Green Mountain Circle and the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity.

Throughout his years of activism, Steve has been a staunch advocate for the Cordillera peoples, notably working with the Timpuyog Dagiti Mannalon Ti Kalinga (TMK), an affiliate of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance. His involvement dates back to the 1970s when he first joined the anti-Chico Dam struggle. Over time, he has persistently campaigned against various forms of development aggression in the Cordillera region, voicing opposition to large dams and corporate mining.

In recognition of his dedicated work, Steve has been wrongly labeled and subjected to unwarranted surveillance and harassment. Tragically, on the evening of August 20, 2022, prior to a subsequent warrant of arrest issued on January 24, 2023, which implicated him and other activists from North Luzon on charges of rebellion or insurrection, Steve—also known as Stephen 'Steve' Tauli—was forcibly abducted and subjected to physical assault. Disturbing CCTV footage captured the presence of five individuals, believed to be members of the state armed forces, at the TMK Office along Ag-a Road, Appas Tabuk City, Kalinga. His abduction prompted a swift response from colleagues, the CPA Kalinga, family, and friends, who embarked on a search mission, leading to Steve's recovery by approximately 10pm the following day.

Currently, Steve is in the process of recovering from the traumatic events of his abduction. His story underscores the continued challenges faced by Indigenous peoples in their fight against development aggression and the importance of advocating for their rights.