On the Palace’s remarks tagging HROs as tools of drug lords

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
reiterates its condemnation of the Philippine Government’s attack against human rights activists and
organizations. After tagging IP leaders and human rights defenders as terrorists, the Duterte
administration is hell-bent in demonizing its critics and silencing democratic dissent by claiming that
human rights organizations (HROs) are “unwitting tools of drug lords to hinder the strides made by the
administration [on the war against drugs].”

This newest tirade against HR defenders proves that previous efforts to delegitimize principled criticism
have failed miserably, after strong condemnation domestically and internationally. Tactics like this further
unmasks the anti-people character of the administration. This psy-war against HR defenders is nothing
short of concealment for the administration’s failure to address the root causes of poverty, inequality,
and marginalization, and its ineptitude to bring change that the President has promised.

While the administration continues to claim that their war against drugs are harboring positive results,
the President and his team are hypocrites as they have been purposely turning a blind eye on big drug
personalities, including the reported involvement of former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte in a drug
syndicate. This administration’s Department of Justice has easily named 600+ individuals as “terrorists”
without any evidence while acquitting self-confessed drug lords, Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim.

Together with other movements in the country, we strongly oppose the administration’s war against
drugs. This war, which has only led to the massacre of thousands of the country’s poor, including
Indigenous Peoples, is nothing but a desperate move by the government to pacify social unrest. We
challenge the President to address issues of land rights, unemployment, inaccessibility of education,
among others, and stop silencing and discrediting those who rightfully fight for the rights of the people.

In these trying times when the state is purposely sowing confusion and mistrust among the people, let us
remain vigilant and stand our ground against Duterte’s tyrannical rule. IPMSDL stands with human rights
activists all over the world fighting for freedom and genuine democracy.

CONDEMN DUTERTE’S TERRORIST RULE!

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ARE NOT TERRORISTS! STOP CRIMINALIZING DISSENT!

Condemn the Duterte Government’s Terrorist Rule!

CASE BRIEF: Petition to Proscribe [Civil Case R-MNL 18-00925 CV]
The Department of Justice vs. The Communist Party of the Philippines and The New Peoples Army aka Bagong Hukbong Bayan

NATURE OF THE PETITION

On February 21, 2018, the Department of Justice (DoJ) an executive agency of the Republic of the Philippines filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19 of the National Capital Region against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA). The said petition seeks to declare the CPP and NPA “as a terrorist and outlawed organizations, associations, and/or group of persons” under the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2017 (Republic Act 9372) also known as the Anti-Terrorism law.

The Human Security Act defines and penalizes terrorism under existing provisions of the Revised Penal Code and several criminal laws mainly through acts it perceives that “thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give to an unlawful demand” and “to overthrow the duly constituted authorities and to seize control of the Philippine Government through armed struggle.” It carries a penalty of forty (40) years imprisonment without the benefit of parole.

Integral to the petition is a list of 656 names that the DoJ claims to be known officers and members of the CPP and NPA. While the petition is directed to the CPP and NPA, the inclusion of the names in the said petition also seeks or has the effect to declare those named also as terrorists. Thus, it puts them at risk for warrantless arrests and detention, even torture, enforced disappearance or extrajudicial killing.

While the petition is based on a penal law i.e. the HSA, the petition for proscription is not a criminal case.  It is a civil case.  Hence, the Court shall not issue a warrant of arrest in this case for the individuals named in the petition. However, under the HSA, the government can consider said individuals as suspects of the crime of terrorism. The law allows any police or law enforcement agent to arrest and detain for three days without warrant said suspects on written authority of the Anti-Terrorism Council provided that such arrest was carried out after a Court of Appeals-authorized surveillance and examination of bank deposits. Just the same, from our experience in the cases of trumped-up charges against activists, many were arrested and detained even without a warrant with the police routinely using planted firearms and explosives.

“TERRORIST” LIST

Named in the petition are activists belonging to legitimate organizations including Indigenous Peoples (IP), notably,

  1. Victoria Tauli Corpuz, current United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, former Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples and former Chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA);
  2. Beverly Longid, current global coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), former CPA Chair and current Advisory Council member;
  3. Joan Carling, current Member and Co-Convenor of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for the Sustainable Development Goals, former Secretary General of the Asian Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP), and former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;
  4. Atty. Jose Molintas, former Asia representative to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), former CPA Chair and current Advisory Council member;
  5. Joanna Cariño, member of the CPA Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the SANDUGO Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination;
  6. Windel Bolinget, current Chairperson of the CPA and National Co-convenor of KATRIBU National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines;
  7. Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding, former Chairperson of CPA-Tongtongan ti Umili and current Regional Coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Cordillera;
  8. Sherwin de Vera, Regional Coordinator of DEFEND Ilocos, member of the Save The Abra River Movement (STARM) and former Secretary General of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance- Karapatan; and
  9. Lumad elders and leaders from Mindanao.

The list is largely composed of aliases and unknown persons John and Jane Does, which allows the amendment of the petition to include any other persons.

Suspiciously, “the list also contains seven names of paramilitary group members including four from the notorious New Indigenous Peoples’ Army (NIPAR), led by Alde ‘Butchoy’ Salusad, who have standing warrants for the killing of Lumad leader Datu Jimmy Liguyon” in 2012. These paramilitary claim to be former NPA and openly admitted to have surrendered to the military. Most likely, the government shall use them as state witnesses against the activists so listed.

LEGAL ACTION

The DoJ to support its petition cites several alleged documents of the CPP and NPA, and incidents, and pending criminal cases that are probably trump-up in several trial courts in the country as acts of terrorism. However, nothing in the petition proves the government’s allegation that the persons named therein are officers and members of the CPP and NPA nor does it state the involvement of said persons in the stated incidents and pending cases.

The above charges are not only false and fabricated. They are baseless and malicious with intent to harass and intimidate those listed in the petition and the people’s mass movement to submission. It is meant to cripple the people’s mass movement in the country and criminalize the legitimate struggles of the people by treating such as terrorist acts.

We appeal to all to support the campaign of activists under attack in the Philippines. You can issue statements of concern and condemnation, sign our online urgent action addressed to the Philippines President and concerned government agencies, write your government to stop military and security aid to the Philippines, and join actions here and abroad. You can also show your support by contributing to the campaign and legal defence fund.

Those listed in the petition have implemented security measures to ensure their safety and security while allowing them to continue their work and advocacy. Those who have been served with summons like Satur Ocampo and Rafael Baylosis as movants (not as respondents) filed with the Court their respective motion to dismiss.  Others where the Court has not yet gained jurisdiction over their persons (either through service of summons or publication) are in the process of consulting with lawyers on how to proceed for the dismissal of the petition, delist their names from the said list, and ensure that their life and rights are protected.  They shall definitely look into the accountability of those responsible for putting not only their lives but also those of their colleagues, families and loved ones in danger. EOF/BLL

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) harassment of human rights defenders in the Philippines by filing trumped-up charges against alleged terrorists.

The Government of the Philippines, through the DOJ, filed a petition in court naming over 600 leaders and activists as terrorists for allegedly “using acts of terror to sow fear and panic to overthrow the government”. Among the accused is IPMSDL Global Coordinator and CPDE (CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness) Co-chair, Beverly Longid. Beverly is an Indigenous Bontok-Kankanaey activist from Cordillera, who has served various national and international organizations and alliances upholding Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) right to self-determination and liberation.

Other Indigenous rights activists included in the petition are Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Chairperson Windel Bolinget; SANDUGO co-chairperson Joanna Cariño; former Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Secretary-General Joan Carling; former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) Jose Molintas, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Vicky Tauli-Corpuz; and at least 10 Lumad leaders from southern and northern Mindanao.

The above charges are not only false and fabricated. They are baseless and malicious with intent to harass and intimidate those listed in the petition and the people’s mass movement to submission. It is meant to cripple the people’s mass movement in the country and criminalize the legitimate struggles of the people by proscribing them as terrorist acts.

We condemn the Duterte government for filing trumped-up charges against IP and human rights defenders while protecting big businesses and landlords who steal and plunder indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands and resources.
Nevertheless, the government is gravely mistaken if it believes that intimidation and harassment will stop the people from fighting back and exercising their democratic rights. While injustice prevails and human rights are violated with impunity, there will be more human rights defenders who will rise up against tyranny.

We demand that the Government of the Philippines drop all trumped-up charges against human rights defenders be accountable for all human rights violations committed – directly through killings, torture, forced evacuations, etc.; and indirectly through the inaction and inutility of mandated government agencies such as the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. We call on our international friends and allies to stand in solidarity with us and to support the campaign to put an end to criminalization of IP and human rights activists!

STOP THE CRIMINALIZATION & HARASSMENT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES & HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS!

FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

On the 2018 International Women’s Day

On the Frontline: Indigenous Women Rise to Struggle for Self-Determination

This International Women’s Day, the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) salutes the women of the world who stand for the rights of Indigenous Peoples (IP)! We celebrate the invaluable contributions that Indigenous women have made and continue to make for the advancement of the global struggle for self-determination and liberation! They have marched, protested, and fought for us and with us all the while tending to our families, working multiple jobs, and dealing with the institutionalized discrimination and gender biases.

It comes as no surprise that Indigenous women are found in the frontlines of movements defending Indigenous lands and cultures as historically, they have always enjoyed prominent roles in human affairs be it as community leaders, healers, artists, or warriors. However, during the onslaught of colonization and when private interests took over, the women’s role in our economic, political, and socio-cultural survival was purposely belittled if not totally invisible.

This manifests until today in the cases of Maxima Acuña, an indigenous farmer living in the highlands of Peru (i) and Patricia Gualinga, a Kichwa leader from Ecuador (ii) who both have stood for the IP’s right to free, prior, and informed consent and spoke against destructive mining industry in Latin America and are being harassed and threatened for it. As in Cordillera, women human rights defenders currently face trumped-up charges for belonging in people’s organizations that work for the promotion and respect of Indigenous peoples’ rights (iii) similar to Ahmed Tamimi of Palestine who was arrested for standing up against abusive Israeli soldiers occupying their homeland (iv). Meanwhile, the story of the Kuy women of Preah Vihear who vigorously lead the campaign against a Chinese sugar company’s land grabbing remains unknown in most parts of the world (v).

Although employing different forms of struggle, these women act so that the generations to come could inherit a sustainable and livable planet and yet they are constantly attacked through extrajudicial killings, trumped-up charges, forced evacuation, harassment, intimidation, and illegal arrests by the very state that is mandated to protect them. The Aboriginals in Canada’s plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women is similar to the situation of West Papuan women who are constantly subjected to shootings, torture, and sexual violence under Indonesian occupation just as criminalization of human rights and environmental defenders to discredit the Indigenous resistance in Latin America is also a tactic used widely by governments in Southeast Asia.

That is why on this day, we also remember the women who have offered their lives in the pursuit of a world free from all forms of oppression. From Honduras’ Berta Caceres to the Kurdish Female Freedom Fighters of Rojava – these women have truly exemplified gender emancipation by choosing not to remain in subordinate positions as dictated by the exploitative system. More will rise from their ranks as long as injustice abounds.
In these times when there are systematic attempts to disempower Indigenous women, IPMSDL invites all Indigenous peoples and advocates to stand in solidarity with them in upholding our fundamental human rights. Join us in demanding accountability from states, corporate actors, and international financial institutions that sabotage our sovereignty and liberties, and put an end to all forms of violence against women! We call on all Indigenous women to take part in the struggle for our right to self-determination!

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Reference: Beverly Longid, IPMSDL Global Coordinator, ipmsdl@gmail.com

i https://www.facebook.com/telesurenglish/videos/1302858836524182/
ii https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/patricia-gualinga-attacked-received-death-threats
iii http://www.karapatan.org/URGENT+ALERT%3A+Stop+the+Attacks+on+Women+Human+Rights+Defenders+in+the+Cordillera%2C+Philippines
iv https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Israel-Denies-Bail-to-Palestinian-Teenager-Ahed-Tamimi-20180117-0024.html
v https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cambodia-landrights-farming/women-lead-sugar-fight-as-cambodia-sours-on-land-deals-idUSKBN1D9216

On the Killing of Ricardo Mayumi

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the killing of Ricardo Mayumi, an indigenous and environmental activist from Ifugao, Cordillera. Mayumi was shot dead inside his house last March 2 by suspected members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGU). The CAFGU are paramilitary units that function as private armies of corporations, under the tutelage of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Mayumi, a member of the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), was known for his active stance against the Sta. Clara International Corporation and Ayala Corporation’s hydroelectric project in Tinoc, Ifugao. According to the IPM, he defended the ancestral lands of the Cordillera during his engagements with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and some Congress representatives. Prior to the incident, Mayumi already received death threats through phone calls and messages.

The continuing harassment and killings of Indigenous rights activists further expose the fascist nature of the state against Indigenous Peoples (IP) who fight to protect their ancestral lands from corporate plunder and environmental destruction. Only profit-driven interests benefit from the suffering and death of Indigenous communities. Two decades after the enactment of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), the killings and harassment of Indigenous Peoples have only escalated showing its inutility, and how the legal system only favors the rich and powerful as it remains aloof and weak in upholding the rights of IP.

IPMSDL demands justice to the death of Ricardo Mayumi and for all the victims of extrajudicial killings. Hold the AFP and Philippine government accountable as perpetrators of attacks and violations against Indigenous rights defenders. We urge the government to pull out its military, CAFGU, and paramilitary troops out of our communities. We demand the government of the Philippines to stop development aggression projects that only bring injustices, plunder of our natural wealth, and destruction of our environment.

IPMSDL honors all the fallen heroes who selflessly fought for the IP right to land, liberty, and self-determination.

JUSTICE FOR RICARDO MAYUMI!
DISMANTLE THE CAFGU & ALL PARAMILITARY GROUPS!
MILITARY TROOPS OUT OF OUR COMMUNITIES!
DEFEND OUR ANCESTRAL LANDS AND RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION!