By RENDELYN CUYOP
MANILA — “Standing with our indigenous brothers and sisters in defending our ancestral domains and our right to self-determination can never be an act of terrorism,” stressed Windel Bolinget, chair of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA).
Bolinget is among the over 600 individuals tagged as terrorists in the proscription petition the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) filed in February at the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) under DOJ former chief Vitaliano Aguirre II.
“We indigenous people are the ones being terrorized by government forces who serve as security forces for big foreign corporations who want to take over our lands,” Bolinget said.
Bolinget said that the continuing militarization of their communities; harrasment and vilification of IPs who stand against destructive development projects and oppressive government policies is terrorizing Indigenous communities.
“It is not a crime to resist especially a tyranic rule,” he reiterated.
Bolinget with Beverly Longid, global coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples Movement for self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) went to the Manila Regional Trial Court on Ausgust 31 to petition the courts to remove them from the proscription list and to drop the Departments Of Justice’s petition proscribing 600 individuals all together.
It can be recalled that seven IPs from the Cordillera were included in the proscription list that include United Nations Special Rappoteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nations Indigenous Peoples Major Group on Sustainable Development co-convener Joan Carling, human rights lawyer Jose Mencio Molintas, and CPA leaders Joanna Carino and Jeanneatte Cawiding.
The courts has recently cleared Corpuz and Molintas together with former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and National Democratic Front of the Philippines Consultant Rafael Baylosis from the DOJ petition
Carling, Carino and Cawiding has filed their motion to be cleared from the DOJ list on August 17. Cawiding and Carino apeared before Branch 19 in Manila RTC on August 31 for the hearing of their motion. The court told them that they still have to wait for the DOJ’s response. DOJ is given 15 days to respond upon receipt of a copy of the motion.
Bolinget is hopeful that like our fellow IPs who were earlier removed from the list, they will be cleared too.
At around 2:30PM, simultaneous with the court hearing, members of progressive groups and supporters staged a mass action in front of the Manila City Hall in support to the motion to delist the IPs and to drop the DOJ proscription all together. The IPs also joined the Black Friday protest at around 5:30PM at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) to commemorate the third anniversary of the Lianga Massacre.
It can be recalled that in 2015, Manobo leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo, and school executive Emerito Samarca were massacred by the Magahat-Bagani paramilitary in Lianga, Surigao Del Sur. The Manobo folk believe that the said paramilitary group was under the 75th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army at that time.
Three years after, the Manobos together with all other IPs and human rights defenders in the country continue to demand justice for the victims and stop to the attacks against IPs. #nordis.net