City Council to DOJ: Drop terror tag on rights advocates

THE Baguio City Council has passed a resolution urging the government to drop the terrorist tag on human rights advocates.

Several residents of Baguio who are advocates of Indigenous Peoples’ rights were included in the list drawn up by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of its petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as terrorist organizations under the Human Security Act.

The list contains over 600 names of persons who are allegedly members or supporters of the two communist groups.

Among those in the list are Victoria “Vicky” Tauli Corpuz, a Kankana-ey from the Mountain Province who now serves as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Joan Carling, a Kankana-ey from Sagada, a former CPA chairperson, and former Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) secretary-general; Beverly Longid, a Bontok-Kankana-ey activist who is also the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) global coordinator and Katribu International solidarity officer; Jose Molintas, an Ibaloi lawyer, former national vice-president of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), and former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP); Joanna Cariño, an Ibaloi elder and activist, Sandugo co-chairperson; Windel Bolinget, a Bontok-Kankanaey, Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) chairperson and Katribu national convenor; and Jeanette Ribaya Cawiding, a Kankana-ey from Besao, Mountain Province and former chairman of Tontongan Ti Umili.

“The tagged individuals are residents of the city and have never joined the revolutionary groups but are passionate and active with their advocacy on human rights and indigenous peoples rights both locally and internationally,” the resolution sponsored by Councilors Art Allad-iw and Faustino Olowan states.

“Their inclusion in the list did not only violate legal processes but now pose a threat to their lives and that of their friends and families,” added the resolution.
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