BEVERLY Sakongan Longid is denouncing efforts to equate activism to terrorism.
Longid on June 24 denounced the inclusion of his name and esteemed people's formations in this terror-tagging campaign especially with the legislated Anti-Terror Act of 2020 that will "justify the already aggressive crackdown against activists and dissenters."
"This shall only perpetuate the culture of impunity in state institutions that tend to commit grave human rights abuses in the name of maintaining peace and security," she said.
Longid recounts efforts to vilify her activism by the Police Regional Office Cordillera Regional Public Information Office (Procor RPIO) in issuing a press release and video recording on June 23, implying her affiliation with the revolutionary armed group, the New People's Army (NPA).
In the press release and video, Procor presented statements from alleged NPA surrenderers, wherein one Ka Balyer narrated how he became a member of the NPA, starting with his recruitment in 2013 to the youth group "Pinatud-Anakbayan, Kabataan para sa Tribung Pilipino (Katribu) under Beverly Longid of CPA."
Longid said the Cordillera People's Alliance (CPA) and Katribu are not front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People's Army (CPP-NPA).
"The CPA is a non-stock, non-profit mass-organization duly registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission. It has been actively campaigning for the defense of ancestral lands and for self-determination in the Cordillera since its founding in 1984. In doing so, it has gained recognition among international CSO's and different platforms for its consistent work for the respect and promotion of Indigenous Peoples rights, as well as for producing strong and empowered leaders," Longid stressed.
In 2018, several CPA leaders, including Longid, were named in a petition by the Department of Justice to proscribe the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations.
Longid said as accusations on their affiliations with the CPP-NPA were found baseless, "our names were eventually dropped from the list with urging from national and international civil society organizations (CSOs), ecumenical institutions, and even local government units such as the Municipal Council of Sagada, the Provincial Board of Mountain Province, and the City Council of Baguio."
Longid served as a staff and former chair of the CPA, a former president and first nominee of the Katribu, an Indigenous Peoples Partylist registered and accredited partylist with the Commission on Elections.
Katribu participated in the elections in 2010 and 2013. It is a non-profit, and non-partisan organization of students and youth advocating for the collective rights of the Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines.
"I am not a member of this Katribu youth but have worked with them on certain issues and activities related to IP issues and concerns. Membership in these formations as well as participation in activities, including protest rallies, are voluntary as opposed to the claims in the statement that they were exploited to various anti-government protests which I take as reference to coercion in joining the said formations," Longid said.