AS THE Department of Justice (DOJ) tagged around 600 individuals as terrorists and branding them as members or supporters of revolutionary organizations like the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army, Councilor Arthur Allad-iw and Councilor Faustino Olowan found it instantaneous to file a resolution urging the government to drop the terrorist tag against human rights defenders especially that of the Cordilleran leaders and residents of Baguio.
Several residents of the city who are advocates of Indigenous Peoples rights were included in the said list. In the said resolution which was approved by the City Council during last Monday’s regular session, the said individuals are residents of the city, but have never joined the revolutionary groups although they are passionate and active in their advocacy on human rights and the Indigenous Peoples rights both locally and internationally.
It stated that their inclusion in the list did not only violate legal processes but posed a threat to their lives and that of their friends and families.
The United Nations (UN), particularly Special Rapporteur Michel Forst on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and Catalina Aguilar, chairperson of the Committee on Special Procedures and other international organizations has already urged the Philippine Government to drop the terrorist tag on Human Rights Defenders as it is an unacceptable attack and an act of retaliation by the administration.
Included in the list are Victoria Tauli-Corpus, a Kankanaey from Besao Mountain Province and Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous from 2005 to 2010 and presently the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of IPs.
Joan Carling, a Kankanaey from Sagada, former secretary general of Thailand-based Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact and co-convener of the IPs Major Group on Sustainable Development; Beverly Longid, a Kankanaey from Sagada and presently the Global Coordinator of the International IP Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation; Atty. Jose Molintas, an Ibaloi and human rights lawyer, former member of the UN expert mechanism on the Rights of IPs.
Windel Bolinget, from Bontoc Mt. Province and former Cordillera Peopleís Alliance (CPA) chairperson, Jeannete Ribaya Cawiding, a Kankanaey from Besao Mt. Province and former chairperson of Tontongan Ti Umili and Joanna Cario, Ibaloi kin of Mateo CariÒo, a member of CPA advisory council and co-chair of Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination.