URGENT APPEAL For Support Against The Terrorist Proscription Of Indigenous Peoples Rights Defenders In The Cordillera, Philippines

10 March 2018

Dear Friends,

We urgently appeal for your support against the Philippine government’s terrorist proscription of indigenous rights defenders from the Cordillera, Philippines. Reliable sources have informed us that the government recently issued a legal petition to declare around 600 persons terrorists alleging that they are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New Peoples Army (NPA). The proscription list is in pursuant to the Human Security Act of 2007 implementation in the context of the worsening state of human rights recognition in the country. This endangers the lives of indigenous human rights defenders and that of their families and colleagues. This is an attack to the legitimacy of people’s organizations like the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and signals the intensifying curtailment of our fundamental and democratic rights and freedoms. This is a blatant attack by the despotic Duterte regime against human rights defenders and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and our communities. The CPA has been fighting for the defense of our ancestral domains and self determination for more than three decades – as an exercise of our fundamental rights.

The government’s terrorist proscription list includes the following staunch indigenous peoples rights  defenders :
1. Victoria Tauli Corpuz, a Kankanaey, current United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, former Chairperson of CPA
2. Joan Carling, a Kankanaey, former Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), current Co-Convenor of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on Sustainable Development, former CPA Chair and current member of the CPA Advisory Council
3. Jose Molintas, an Ibaloi human rights lawyer, former Asia representative to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), former CPA Chair and current member of the Advisory Council member
4. Beverly Longid, a Kankanaey-Bontok, current global coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), current Co-Chair of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), former CPA Chair and current member of the Advisory Council member
5. Joanna Cariño, an Ibaloi, member of the CPA Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the SANDUGO Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination
6. Windel Bolinget, a Kankanaey-Bontok, current Chairperson of the CPA and National Co-convenor of KATRIBU national alliance of indigenous peoples in the Philippines
7. Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding, Kankanaey, former chairperson of CPA-Tongtongan ti Umili and current Regional Coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Cordillera
8. Sherwin de Vera, Regional Coordinator of DEFEND Ilocos and member of the Save The Abra River Movement (STARM)

The charges are baseless and malicious, with intent to sow fear and delegitimize dissent limiting the already narrow democratic space in Philippine society. The proscription list is part of a systematic attack against legitimate political dissent is an implementation of the program of the Philippine government’s Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA).

Since February 2017 with the stalling of the Peace Talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), human rights violations in the Cordillera have intensified to a Martial Law-like state. CPA members and indigenous rights advocates, activists, communities and people’s organizations asserting indigenous peoples rights became targets of illegal arrests and detention, political vilification and persecution, threats, harassment and intimidation, the filing of trumped-up charges and even extrajudicial killing. On March 2, 2018, indigenous activist Ricardo Mayumi was extrajudicially killed in his own home in Kiangan, Ifugao province. Mayumi was a leader of the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), the CPA chapter in Ifugao province. The IPM is at the forefront of the opposition against the Quadriver dam projects in Tinoc that endanger the livelihood and undermine the control of the Ifugao people over their ancestral land and resources. Mayumi and 9 other IPM leaders have previously received death threats from State security forces and their agents. In 2015, they were sent a picture of a gamong or the Ifugao death blanket.

In the face of the worsening tyranny of the Duterte government and aggressive actions towards an installation of a dictatorship, we are appealing for support to compel the Philippine government to comply with its obligations to all human rights and international humanitarian law, treaties and conventions that it is a signatory to including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

These are very difficult and challenging times not just for the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera but for the entire Philippine nation.

We appeal for your support and solidarity. The following are some of the ways by which you can help us in this campaign:
1. Issue strong statements of solidarity for circulation to the public and media circles and posting in websites and social media platforms. Please send a copy to [email protected]
2. For individuals and organizations outside the Philippines, write letters of concern to your embassies in the Philippines, and to the addressees provided in Annex 1.

Attached is a list of the human rights violations in the Cordillera region since February 2017 for your information and reference (Annex 2).

Thank you.
Sincerely,
BESTANG DEKDEKEN
Secretary General, Cordillera Peoples Alliance

AUDREY BELTRAN
Vice Chair, Cordillera Human Rights Alliance

Annex 1. Please send letters of concern to the following addresses:

You may send your communications to:
1. H.E. Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: [email protected] or send message through http://president.gov.ph/contact-us/

2. Hon. Jesus Dureza
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Email: [email protected][email protected]

3. Ret. Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: [email protected][email protected]

4. Hon. Vitaliano Aguirre
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline: 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: [email protected]

5. Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: [email protected]

Click here to download full statement.

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