WE WILL ASSERT OUR RIGHT TO CELEBRATE CORDILLERA DAY
April 21, 2018
BAGUIO CITY- The Cordillera Peoples Alliance strongly condemns the harassment of the CPA Ifugao chapter and the blatant attempts to stop Ifugao delegates from participating in the 34th Cordillera Day here in Baguio from April 22-24, 2018.
The contingent from the province are experiencing harassment from state agents from the 54th Infantry Battalion and the 77th Cadre Infantry Battalion as they put up a checkpoint in Camandag, Asipulo, Ifugao. Before five in the morning today, flyers were distributed and scattered from the town of Dugong all the way to Lagawe, bearing false information against the member organisations of CPA Ifugao and its provincial staff. The first flyer tags open legal mass organizations Ifugao Peasant Movement, Ububbon di Binabai ad Iffugao, Bokiawan Women’s Organization, Uhaj Farmer’s Organization, Gumhang Farmer’s Organization, Binablayan Farmer’s Organization, Hapid Organic Farmer’s and Livelihood Advocates, Tupaya Indigenous Farmers Organization, and Katribu Ifugao as “groups organized by the New Peoples Army”. Another flyer tags NGO Ifugao Resource and Development Center in Lagawe as “kuta ng NPA”.
Another flier tags CPA Ifugao provincial staff Brandon Lee, Claudine Panayao, Ben Calingayan, Nestor Peralta, Benedict Taguid and Dolores Pacliw as “mga kampon ng NPA”.
The flyers contain signatories "makasamasa, para sa masang Ifugao", posturing to be pro-poor, pro-people and pro-Ifugao.
This pattern of political persecution puts our leaders at risk. Last 2015, the Ifugao community organizers and leaders above received death threats in the form of the Ifugao gamong or cloth used for the dead with the words “Gray-May, June-Gloom, No Sky-July”. Human rights defender William Buggatti and anti-dam activist Ricardo Mayumi, who were in March 2014 and March 2, 2018 respectively, were also subjected to the same pattern of political persecution.
Meanwhile, Cordillera Day delegates from Asipulo municipality en route to Baguio City were subjected to a checkpoint earlier today in Camandag, set up by the 54th IB and 77th Cadre IB.
These events that happened today add to the manifestation of State fascism and tyranny in the Cordillera, which are among the key issues to be tackled in Cordillera Day 2018 that opens tomorrow, April 22. This is not also the first time that military agents or the military have tried to harass the delegates of Cordillera Day or the host community. We will hold them accountable should anything happen to them***
For reference: Bestang Dekdeken