CORDILLERA People’s Alliance (CPA) Secretary General Bestang Dekdeken lauded members of the Baguio City Council for defending human rights advocates.

Dekdeken, in a statement, commended and thanked the local council for urging the government to drop the terrorist tag against human rights defenders of Baguio City.

The Department of Justice Tagged over 600 individuals as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) and including Victoria Tauli Corpuz, United Nations Special Raporteur on Indigenous Peoples; Joan Carling, coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group under the UN Sustainable Development Goals; lawyer Jose Molintas, former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Beverly Longid, global coordinator for the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self- Determination and Liberation; Joanna Carino, member of the CPA advisory Council and SANDUGO co-chairperson; Jeanette Ribaya Cawiding, past chairperson of Tongtongan ti Umili and present coordinator of the Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees and Windel Bolinget, present chairperson of the CPA.

In a previous statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said: “Contrary to the impression of the High Commissioner, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz was included in the list not because of her position as Special Rapporteur but because of her alleged links with the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee (ICRC) of the CPP-NPA, which, if the High Commissioner is not aware of, is in the list of foreign terrorist organizations of both the United States and the European Union.”

Cayetano continued Tauli-Corpuz and the other individuals mentioned in the petition are there because of their membership in or association with the CPP-NPA as reported over the years by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“If indeed Ms. Tauli-Corpuz and the others named in the petition are innocent as they claim they are, they should see this as an opportunity to clear their names and prove in court that they have never been members of or associated with the group,” Cayetano added.

The resolution was filed by Councilors Arthur Art Allad-iw and Faustino Olowan which was adopted by the entire body saying 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 people’s rights both locally and internationally.