Baguio bans communists, welcomes free thinkers

LEGISLATORS in Baguio City is following a national directive shunning all acts of terrorism, but reiterates a democracy for freedom thinkers is still in effect.

Councilor Arthur Allad–iw said the resolution adopting the articles of declaration against armed conflict has been revised to include safety of groups and activists in the city.

The local council agreed to remove a provision which included declaration of persona non grata for groups which support and sympathize certain ideology.

However, the local council was quick to condemn and declare persona non grata the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front, its officers and members for as long as they support and advocate armed struggle to overthrow the existing government system.

Allad–iw said the resolution made the distinction from armed groups to legitimate organizations advocating for peace, justice and freedom and in turn, gives these groups protection.

The city official clarified the difference between ideology, the driving force by which progressive groups exist and act of terrorism to overthrow government systems, something which the local council is against.

The resolution states the city will not be supportive of groups which are proven to be into armed conflict and renewed it support to the resumption of the peace talk process.

Recently, threats to advocates and activists in the city was presented in search for action and protection.

Tongtongan ti Umili (TTU), in a letter to Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong detailed cases of human rights violations and harassment starting 2017 to the present.

The TTU with Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, Organisasyon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili iti Siyudad (ORNUS), Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kabataan Partylist Cordillera, Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera asked Magalong to possibly pass an executive order against the political vilification of activists and mark the Human Rights Defenders Protection ordinance as an urgent legislative measure as well as help ensure physical safety of human rights defenders, and abide by State obligations to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including access to justice, freedom of expression and of association.

Allad-iw shared he has likewise been tagged as a supporter of these armed groups in a letter which was sent in 2019 to then Mayor Mauricio Domogan implicating himself as well as then councilor and now Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan and former Councilor Peter Fianza as supporters of the CPP-NPA–NDF.

The alderman said the accusations has been taken in stride but with attention to security ever since.

Allad-iw added the resolution of the council takes in consideration the plight of advocate groups who have been red tagged in the past as a step to ensure protection.


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