By JUDE BAGGO
LAGAWE, Ifugao — The Ifugao Resource Development Center (IRDC) denounced the statement of Ifugao PSSupt. Angelito A. Casimiro directly linking IRDC as the “Hayag na Kilusang Masa” to the Nona del Rosario Command, a New People’s Army (NPA) unit in Ifugao.
“The statement made by PSSupt. Casimiro is outrageous. This statement also validated earlier claims that legal and legitimate organizations are vilified as enemies of the state or “front organizations” of the NPA,” IRDC OIC William Bugatti stressed.
Bugatti reiterated that the police chief’s statement practically legitimizes police surveillance and other forms of human rights violations against IRDC staff members and the communities they serve.
Bugatti pointed out that given this situation, where would the IRDC staff and the communities they serve complain and seek protection against vilification if the top police officer in the province is the one vilifying them. “This condition puts IRDC staffs and their communities without the protection of the law,” he reiterated.
“But no amount of vilification can blemish a track record out of sweat, hard work and dedication. IRDC will continue to go to communities and serve the people,” Bugatti stressed.
IRDC is an open and legitimate non-government organization formed in 1990 primarily to conduct research and development especially on agriculture and socio-economic in the grassroots. Since then, IRDC compiled voluminous researches on agriculture, environment, culture and development. It also facilitated construction of small hard and soft infrastructures such as water works, bridges, path ways, and irrigation systems.
IRDC also contributed in seed and animal dispersal. It also conducted education and trainings on sustainable agriculture, health, and disaster risk reduction. Furthermore, it also organized communities to strengthen their capacities in advancing their common interests.
This is a clear picture that IRDC since its establishment had worked hard for despite all difficulties to help Ifugao communities. IRDC does not deny also that some of their communities are alleged strongholds of the NPA.
“This coincidence cannot just simply equate IRDC as the Hayag na Kilusang Masa of the NPA. Again, IRDC strongly stated that it has no links with the NPA,” he said.
The Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM) joins IRDC in denouncing this branding and direct linking of IRDC to the NPA by the PNP. It is unjust and a violation to label organizations as “fronts” of the NPA. Furthermore, IRDC and IPM call on all peace and human rights advocates in the province to put pressure on to stop the vilification by the PNP against legal and legitimate organizations in the province.
“Surveillance against innocent development and human rights workers, offices and other forms of human rights violations should stop immediately. The police should live up truthfully to their motto “to serve and protect” and not violating and terrorizing civilians and communities,” Bugatti said. # nordis.net