‘Activism is not terrorism’

By DIVINE PEÑAFLOR
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — Cordillera Peoples Alliance founding member and Martial Law activist Joanna Cariño expresses dissent over her inclusion in Duterte’s terrorist list after receiving Pi Sigma Delta Sorority Baguio’s 8th Gawad Bangan Award during the UP Bagyo: Surge Against Tyranny on Friday, March 23.

NOT A TERRORIST. Joanna Cariño (second from the left), a founding member of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) is this year’s recepient of the Gawad Bangan Award being given by the Pi Sigma Delta Sorority and the University of the Philippines Kasarian. The Gawad Bangan Award is awarded to progressive individuals in UP Baguio who promote the rights, excellence, and welfare of women in the world and in the Philippines. Photo by Sherwin De Vera

The Gawad Bangan Award is awarded to progressive individuals in UP Baguio who promote the rights, excellence, and welfare of women in the world and in the Philippines.

After receiving the award, Cariño talked about her and 648 others’ inclusion in Duterte’s terrorist list and how activists who fight for human rights are deemed criminals by the current administration.

Duterte’s terror list

On February 21, the Department of Justice filed a petition to the Manila Regional Trial Court to declare the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group.

The petition came with a list of 649 names including CPP founder Joma Sison, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, Northern Dispatch columnist Sherwin De Vera, United Nations special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Joana Cariño, and many others.

“I am not a terrorist. I am an activist; and I have been an activist all of my life,” Cariño exclaimed.

She added that being in the list has brought fear among her and her colleagues because being in the list means being part of the government’s hit list, similar with the Oplan Tokhang list of names.

Attack against CPA

The terrorist list also included former and current executive committee members of CPA including current chairperson Windell Bolinget, Atty. Jose Molintas, Joan Carling, and Beverly Longid.

“What is it ba with Cordillera Peoples Alliance na kinatatakutan ng gobyernong ito, such that ilelabel nya itong mga pinuno ng CPA na mga terorista?” (What is it with the CPA that the government is afraid of, such that it will label CPA’s leaders as terrorists?) Cariño said. She also added that while she has to defend herself, she also has to defend her organization as it seems to be one of the targets of the current administration.

According to Cariño, CPA has always been present in the fight for the rights of indigenous peoples (IP) including their right to ancestral domain and self-determination.

Cariño stated that she and her organization have always fought alongside IPs, criticized the government for its anti-people policies, and organized activities to help educate people of the society’s current situation, making them activists and not terrorists.

As she received her award, Cariño reiterated that helping the people and lobbying for the rights of IPs is not a crime and is something that one should be proud of. # nordis.net

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