DAVAO CITY, Philippines — An international indigenous people (IP) group on Thursday commended the move of local government units (LGU) in Northern Luzon for coming out with resolutions opposing the terrorist tagging by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte of human rights advocates.
In a statement, the group International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) expressed gratitude to the LGUs for such action.
“Activism is not terrorism. And with the growing support of local councils in the Philippines against the terrorist tagging by the Duterte administration, I am more than thankful for the reassurance that our fight for the rights, freedom, and justice of Indigenous Peoples are legitimate,” said IPMSDL Coordinator Beverly Longid in a statement.
Longid was referring to the Sangguniang Bayan of Sagada for the passing of Resolution No. 27-2018; the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Mountain Province for Resolution No. 2018-182; and the Resolution No. 92 of the City Council of Baguio.
IPMSDL particularly cited Resolution No. 27-2018 of Sagada that was approved last April 16 that states: “Requesting the Department of Justice/Philippine government to drop in its terrorist tag on the following persons, namely: Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Joan Carling, Beverly L. Longid, Atty. Jose Molintas, Windel Bolinget, Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding and Joanna Cariño.”
The City Council of Baguio, last March 20 also stipulated in its resolution the call to the national government “to drop the ’terrorist’ tag against Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) leaders.”
Longid, an indigenous Bontok-Kankanaey, is among the seven Cordillerans identified by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on its list as alleged officers and members of the communist groups operating in the country.
The list that includes around 600 individuals was submitted by the DOJ last February to the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) in a petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations.
Tauli-Corpuz, one of those in the list, is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
“As a daughter of the Cordillera, I am glad that these councils recognized that the Department of Justice (DOJ) fabricated the terrorist list in the proscription which includes my name and my colleagues in the CPA. I have been with different internationally-recognized IP organizations and civil society movements here and abroad since the 80s. These councils know us and our passion in advocating for the respect and recognition of IP rights,” Longid said.
She said the terrorist list will only bolster the government propensity to arrest its critics, including IP and human rights defenders.
She cited the case of Fr. Frank Ventura, an IP Catholic priest and anti-mining advocate who was killed last April 29 in Cagayan.
“These are dark times indeed for human rights in the Philippines. I recently became a grandmother and I would like to spend time with my family, especially my granddaughter, without fearing for our safety. That’s why I thank all institutions, organizations, and individuals in the Philippines and abroad who echo our call to drop the DOJ petition and guarantee the protection of every activists’ human rights,” ended Longid. (davaotoday.com)