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HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Dads ask DOJ to remove Baguio activists from terror list

/ 05:18 AM March 21, 2018

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz —UNSR

BAGUIO CITY—The city council on Monday approved a resolution asking the government to remove seven Baguio activists and scholars from a list of more than 600 people tagged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as “terrorists.”

Among the seven were Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs), and Joan Carling, coconvener of the UN Indigenous Peoples Major Group on Sustainable Development, who, the council said, were “advocates of indigenous peoples rights.”

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Petition

The DOJ appended the list to its petition asking a Manila Regional Trial Court to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as terrorist groups.

FEATURED STORIES

Corpuz on Tuesday thanked the councilors for the resolution, saying their support eroded the DOJ argument that their activities should be labeled as “terrorism.”

“I was born and spent most of my life in Baguio. Even while I am performing my mandate as the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Baguio remains my home base. I hope Baguio will become our sanctuary where we can feel secure and protected,” she said.

Two others on the list, Joanna Cariño and Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding, both educators, were among the city’s outstanding women leaders.

‘Act of retaliation’

The council resolution said these residents “never joined revolutionary groups, although they have been passionate and active in advocating human rights.”

The resolution said: “The United Nations, particularly Michel Frost, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, chair of the committee on special procedures and other international organizations, [have] urged the Philippine government to drop the terror tag [on the human rights] defenders as it is an unacceptable attack and an act of retaliation by the administration.”

Also included in the list were human rights lawyer
Jose Molintas; Beverly Longid, global coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation; and Windel Bolinget, chair of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance.

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In Mindanao, the Moro and “lumad” group, Sandugo, protested the inclusion of at least four of its leaders and other members of progressive groups on the list.

“Fighting for the [indigenous peoples’ rights] for self-determination is not an act of terror,” Jerome Aba, Sandugo cochair, said.

Helping IPs

He said Sandugo cochair Cariño; Sandugo council members Bolinget and Longid; and founding member Datu Isidro Indao, did not commit terrorism but instead worked to improve Moro and lumad communities.

“Other [IP leaders] from Mindanao like Datu Mandayhon, Datu Mampadayag and Mamerto Guyanon are also [on the list]. They are actively opposing the encroachment of mining corporations and agribusiness plantations into their ancestral lands,” Aba said.

Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and National Federation of Sugar Workers also viewed the inclusion of at least 10 farmer leaders in the list as “reprehensible.” —Reports from Inquirer Northern Luzon and Allan Nawal

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TAGS: Baguio activists, Department of Justice, DOJ terror list, Joan Carling, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
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