Tell it to SunStar: It’s activism, not terrorism

WE strongly denounce the tagging of activists as terrorists. The latest list of 649 submitted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to a Manila court has injudiciously identified more than 70 women human rights defenders as terrorists under the Human Security Act. DOJ’s petition was filed to sow fear and muffle voices of dissent against the intensifying political repression of the Duterte government.

The list includes well-known women human rights defenders, namely:

1. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, former chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;

2. Elisa Tita Lubi, Karapatan National Executive Committee member and former interim regional coordinator of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD);

3. Joan Carling, co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on the Sustainable Development Goals, former secretary general of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;

4. Joanna Cariño, member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Advisory Council and Sandugo co-chairperson;

5. Zara Alvarez, research and advocacy officer of Negros Island Health Integrated Program for Community Development (NIHIPCD);

6. Beverly Longid, global coordinator for the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL);

7. Jeanette Ribaya Cawiding, regional coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) – Cordillera; and

8. Rogina Navarro Quilop, administrative officer of the Center for People’s Resources and Services (CPRS)-Negros.

President Rodrigo Duterte has waged wars against the people which result to death and destruction, bloodshed and breakdown.

His war on drugs has killed 13,000 people which include at least 120 women. His claim of “terrorist attacks” in Marawi City and consequent declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao led to the displacement of more than 55,000 Maranaos and destruction of hundreds of millions of their properties. The armed forces attacks in communities have resulted to more than 15,000 indigenous peoples displaced, 47 human rights defenders killed, 39 tortured, 27,349 harassed, 486 arrested, and 53 detained.

He promised us a progressive leader offering substantial change, yet, he instead morphed into Perses, the god of destruction. He claimed to start a pro-people government, yet he initiates the killings of poor people, the arrests of peasants and workers, the bombings of lumad communities. So who is the terrorist now?

We call on the people, especially those in the marginalized sectors, to remain critical and vigilant. Let us unite to defend our rights and defy tyranny and militarism. It is only through our collective action that we can defeat despotism. Because our activism is not terrorism.--Center for Women’s Resources
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