Makabayan bloc urges House to probe Cordillera’s ‘tokhang’ vs ‘left-leaning’ persons
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc has urged the House of Representatives to “condemn and investigate” through the committee on human rights the resolution signed by a Cordillera regional law enforcement body to implement “tokhang” operations against “left-leaning” personalities.
In introducing House Resolution No. 1607, the Makabayan bloc said “the resolution to implement Oplan Tokhang on so-called ‘left-learning’ personalities could open the floodgates for another wave of widespread rights violations and extrajudicial killings, this time targeted against activists and critics.”
“Even before the resolution, activists have been subjected to intense vilification, illegal detention, and even extrajudicial killings,” the lawmakers said.
“The implementation of the already controversial and notorious Oplan Tokhang to ‘dissuade’ activities and dissenters from airing otherwise legitimate concerns poses a threat to the country’s democracy,” they added.
The Makabayan bloc was referring to the resolution approved by the Cordillera’s Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee, which recommended a “Tokhang-style” tactic against individuals, including journalists, who are being tagged as communist rebels or supporters.
Oplan Tokhang in the drug war means to knock on the doors of houses of drug suspects and plead for them to stop their drug trade activities.
The Makabayan lawmakers added that in the Cordillera region, activists have been subjected to trumped-up charges, harassment, and threats to their life by state armed forces.
“It is imperative for members of Congress, as representatives of our people, to defend the rights of our people and check on excesses and violations committed against them, especially in this time of crisis. Laws and rules should serve the interest of our people, and should not be weaponized to suppress their rights and oppress them,” they also said.
The Makabayan bloc is composed of Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat, Gabriela Women Rep. Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago.
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